Visual Artists Call to Action – Innovative New Project Working to Support and Promote Visual Artists

There’s an innovative new project, launched just eight weeks ago by Volcano Art Center, that is working to create useful and enriching connections for Hawaii Island’s visual artists.

Inspired by the statistic which states Hawaii ranks #3 of the 50 states with fine artists and craftspeople (from the 2006 National Endowment for the Arts report, “Artists in the Workforce”), VAC launched the Hawaii Island Network of Artists project (HINA) to learn about the economic and social impact artists have on our island.

“Hawaii Island artists are an economic driver for our County and collectively these artists make up an unrecognized creative workforce,” says Tanya Aynessazian, VAC’s Chief Executive Officer.

Aynessazian adds, “The NEA report says that 15 out of every 10,000 residents is an artist. Given our involvement in this community, we are certain Hawaii Island has far more than 270 visual artists.”

This year-long project consists of two key components:

  • A survey to count and understand the economic and social contributions of local artists.
  • A website to act as a marketing tool and resource directory to further the project’s impact and provide immediate benefit to local artists. Each artist who takes the survey and holds a GET license can choose to have a FREE personal web page with a link to his/her website or contact info on

Over the next six months, the HINA project is continuing to host community meetings in each district of the island, including one at UH Hilo on Wednesday, October 24. With three meetings under their belts, Aynessazian and HINA Project Manager, Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, are grateful for the response to the project so far.

“I’m very excited about what this project will do for our creative community,” says DeEtte Shafto. “It’s not enough to know Hawaii Island has more than 270 visual artists; we need to prove it.”

DeEtte Shafto has set a goal of representing 150 artists on the HINA website before she starts marketing the project to major media outlets. “And to do that, we need the help of individual artists,” she says. “If you’re a visual artist, all you have to do is download the survey on our website, fill it out and send it in.”

“Our project funding is finite,” states DeEtte Shafto. “We need help from our artist community to reach our goal of 150 participating artists before the end of the year.”

Visual artists and art collectors are invited to attend the free community meetings to learn more about the project, as well as discuss the needs of local artists.

Future meetings are scheduled as follows:

October 24, 2012, 5:30–7pm:  University of Hawaii Hilo, Room UCB 127, Hilo

November 7, 2012, 5:30–7pm:  NHERC, 45-539 Plumeria Street, Honokaa

November 15, 2012, 5:30–7pm:  Kohala Intergenerational Center, 54-3853 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kapaau

January 24, 2013, 5:30–7pm:  SKEA, 84-5191 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook

February 7, 2013, 5:30–7pm:  Donkey Mill Art Center, 78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa

March 7, 2013, 5:30–7pm:  Naalehu Community Center, 95-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy, Naalehu

Artists have only six more months to get involved and show the collective impact they make on our island. The opportunity to be added to the website and be included in the planned print catalog closes on April 15, 2013 when the data compilation begins.

To download the survey or discover talented artists, visit You can also connect on Facebook at, on Twitter at @HINArtists, through email at or call Volcano Art Center directly at (808) 967-8222.

Hawaii Island Network of Artists is supported in part with funding from Hawaii County. Volcano Art Center (VAC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1974 to develop, promote and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education.

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