LAHAINA - On April 20, Lahaina Arts Association (LAA) held a fundraiser at the Old Lahaina Courthouse to benefit its nine free children's art classes in the Maui Youth Art Outreach Program, Hawaiian Youth Mentoring Program and Scholarship Program.
With five after-school classes on Maui and four in-school classes on Molokai, LAA provides keiki with free, accessible art programs at a time when funding for the arts in public schools is dramatically decreasing or being cut altogether.
Attendees were moved by the testimony of LAA teachers Ellen Levinsky and Deborah Thorne, who spoke about the benefits of bringing free art classes to neighborhoods and schools in Maui County.
From left, Lahaina Arts Association supporter Ann Pistillo, Board President Sue Thomas, intern Nina Thorne and teacher Deborah Thorne talk at the gala.
Nina Thorne, LAA's paid intern and valedictorian of her graduating class at Hana School, spoke about her experiences with teaching the children and how LAA programs are making a difference in their lives.
In addition, Kela Strickland, LAA's Best in Show scholarship winner, said that without the scholarships that she won from LAA, she would not be going to art school in the fall. Kela will study to become an art teacher.
Invitees dined on sushi pupus from 5 Palms, coordinated through General Manager Jaison Marconyak and new Corporate Executive Chef Johnny Nguyen.
LAA also thanked community members that attended the event and donated more than $3,000 to support the art education programs.
For more information on Lahaina Arts Association - including class schedules and how to support LAA in terms of monetary donations, volunteer time, art supplies or donations to its upcoming silent auction - visit www.lahaina-arts.org.