Friday | May 26, 2017
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Artists’ input sought for network project

Volcano Art Center has added a new tool to its arsenal to help Hawaii Island artists and is sending out an open call to all Hawaii Island painters, photographers, woodworkers, ceramicists, glass blowers, blacksmiths, jewelers, fiber artists, kapa makers, weavers, mixed media artists and sculptors to take the Hawaii Island Network of Artists survey online.

“One of our goals with this project is to prove that artists make a positive difference to our local economy and quality of life,” said Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, project manager for the HINA research report and website. “We are asking fine artists and craftspeople who make all or part of their living from their work to take our survey and in return, we provide a free web page on our actively marketed website,”

“We began in July, thanks to funding in part from Hawaii County, and are collecting data through May to prove what we know to be true about our creative workforce, ” said VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian, who conceived the project. “Our local artists are an unrecognized creative workforce, because so many artists work independently; we need the public’s help in spreading the word about this project.”

Aynessazian and Shafto have been hosting community meetings in each district of the island as a means of sharing the project’s intent and hearing from artists directly. In 2012, they held meetings in Volcano, Pahoa, Waimea, Hilo, Honokaa, Kapaau and Captain Cook and met with nearly 100 artists — learning first-hand about their needs. They have three more meetings lined up in Holualoa, Naalehu and Laupahoehoe, respectively.

“The response to the project from the community has been wonderful, but taking a survey takes time and we needed a way to make it faster and easier,” Aynessazian said. “With the HINA survey now online, making it much easier for artists to participate, we expect to see a major increase in responses and artists represented on our site.”

Apart from being one of the grandest undertakings since it was founded in 1974, the acronym HINA has a second meaning for the staff at Volcano Art Center. Hina, Hawaiian goddess of Hilo and a kapa maker, is a source of innovation and unification.

To learn more about Volcano Art Center and the HINA project or to sign up for updates, visit or follow on Facebook. For more in-depth information, contact Volcano Art Center at 967-8222 or