On view in the islands

Faye Ross named the Venus Art Center & Gallery after her grandmother's Venus beauty salon.

For love of art,
and grandma

AS she explains the origins of the Venus Art Center & Gallery in Kaimuki, Faye Ross' gaze wanders upward, her expression wistful.

"I wanted to set up shop in my grandma's old Venus building up the street," she says. "I grew up there."

But the building was in disrepair, so Ross houses her venue instead at 3134 Waialae Avenue, in a two-story building right next to the entrance to Saint Louis High School.

The gallery is part exhibition space, part studio, where Ross and partner Kristada Chavachart display and sell their stained glass works and Chavachart's acrylic paintings, and teach classes in glass, acrylics, drawing, Fimo sculpture and feng shui. The duo also offers interior design services. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Call 737-8018 for information on classes.

Ross also hopes her venue will become a place for other artists to exhibit and teach their crafts.

"We want other artists to become part of our dream," she says.

This stained glass piece is among the artwork on exhibit and for sale at Venus Art Center & Gallery, where they also host classes in glass, acrylics, drawing and Fimo.

Ross says her segue into the world of art came through making jewelry, something she'd done all her life. In looking for a place to do her work, she set her sights on Grandma's old Kaimuki building.

"But my husband said why not teach, so I decided to try it," she says. Chavachart had similar dreams and they formed a partnership.

Ross solves a mystery for many a Waialae Avenue passerby when she says that the Venus building, still infused with character despite it's faded pink paint and unlit neon "VENUS" sign, was once a beauty salon.

"I got my name from Grandma's place," she says with a smile. "When I found out I couldn't move to her shop, I heard that the owners in this building were renting. They knew Grandma, and they decided to rent to me.

"So I think my grandma's still looking out for me," she says with another dreamy gaze toward the sky.

Joleen Oshiro

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