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Meetings set to help plan new community fine arts museum

By Staff | Oct 15, 2015

Art aficionado Lois Reiswig, who is spearheading an effort to build a fine arts museum in West Maui, shows the first painting she and her husband purchased some years ago when they moved to the island.

LAHAINA – The newly formed Maui Arts League will hold a series of special informational meetings for local residents on Nov. 10-12 to share plans to build a first-class fine arts museum in West Maui.

Lois Reiswig, an event co-sponsor in developing the highly successful Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational, envisions a 10,000-square-foot facility. The location has not yet been determined.

The museum would be “a spectacular addition to the community,” said Reiswig.

The proposed stand-alone museum on a prominent site would be the largest in Lahaina with 5,000 square feet of exhibit space to showcase artists’ artwork, 5,000 square feet for storage plus a caf and gift shop.

The museum would display traveling exhibits from Hawaii and elsewhere and host art workshops and special events. It also would have its own collection at some point.

“This will be a place where people will gather frequently to view, contemplate and be inspired by art as well as participate in art workshops. It will be an active art destination all of the time,” Reiswig explained.

Everyone interested in art will be welcomed, including art collectors, students studying art, art educators, people in art-related businesses and those who simply appreciate the beauty and joy of paintings, sculptures and fine photography.

Those attending will hear about the Maui Arts League and the vision of a museum, as well as have the opportunity to provide input.

Both the Maui Arts League and the fine arts museum are outgrowths of the successful Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational that has attracted an ever-expanding following, now averaging 2,500 attendees during the weeklong art event.

The invitational involves 25 professional artists painting in the open air, where people can see them work, at sites around West Maui. These paintings are then exhibited and sold.

Annual sales at the ten-year-old invitational now exceed $100,000, and over the ten-year period, total sales exceed $1 million – a significant accomplishment for an annual one-week event.

“We now want to build on this momentum by creating a permanent home where our community can learn, study and be inspired by art,” noted Reiswig.

Assisting in running the community meetings will be art authority and judge Jean Stern, executive director of the highly successful Irvine Museum in California, which has become a model for successful community art museums. Stern will talk about how a local art museum can preserve artworks for generations to come and share why museums play a key role in a healthy, vibrant community.

He will lead the interactive sessions about the Maui Arts League, the importance of league membership and the fine art museum.

The Maui Arts League, a membership organization just getting started, is set to become a group of like-minded people of all ages who will view art exhibits on the island together, hold “Art Talk” sessions after viewings, and foster art appreciation throughout Maui County.

Membership forms will be available at the meetings for those wishing to sign up. The community sessions will be held at the West Maui Senior Center at 788 Pauoa St. (just off Lahainaluna Road in Lahaina) on Nov. 10; the Royal Lahaina Resort’s main ballroom at 278 Kekaa Drive in Kaanapali Resort on Nov. 11; and Maui Preparatory Academy’s dining hall at 4910 Honoapiilani Highway in Napili on Nov. 12. Each meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

To register to attend one of the meetings, contact Sara Foley at (808) 667-0589 or sara@mauicommunicators.com.

The Maui Arts League is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Serving on the league’s board of directors are Reiswig, Valentina Stewart Watson, Una Somerville, Ann Pistillo, and Nam LeViet.