More than just an art sale


POSTED: Sunday, December 07, 2008

“;It just frustrates me that, every year, this is referred to as a gift show,”; laments David Behlke, director of Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College, in reference to the “;2008 Mixed Media Miniature XI”; exhibit on display there.

“;We're listed in calendars under 'craft fairs.' But this is more than a gift show. This represents a real cross-section of contemporary fine artists in the islands today.”;

Indeed, Behlke puts much effort into the annual “;MMM”; exhibit, scouting emerging talent to invite to the show and courting long-established artists to contribute as well. This year, some 110 artists submitted about 190 works, and Behlke calls the show “;one of the strongest in a long time.”;

The lineup is indeed impressive: Koa awardees (for lifetime achievement in the arts) Isami Doi, Toshiko Takaezu, Harry Tsuchidana, Satoru Abe, Claude Horan and Lucille Cooper share wall space with the likes of Ka-Ning Fong, Dorothy Faison, Alan Leitner, May Izumi and Kirk Kurokawa.

For all of Behlke's frustration at being labeled “;gift show,”; however, one of the draws of “;MMM”; is the fact that it offers fine art by top artists at prices within reach of most budgets. For instance, where else could you find a sculpture by Izumi for less than $400? (Her “;Star Birds are $100 each.) In any case, a visit to the show is worthwhile. Whether you buy a piece of art or not, you take away an education of what the local art scene looks like—and the realization that it's a rich scene, indeed.

“;MMMXI”; runs through Dec. 20. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and until 2 p.m. Saturdays. Call 734-9374.