On Friday April 17th, 2015, Kupa’a 104 was transformed into an art gallery with the addition of new acrylic paintings from the Maui Open Studio 2015 event. As UHMC’s main music classroom, Kupa’a 104 serves the dual purpose of piano lab and class instruction. It’s a space where pianists spend most of their time practising and for that reason, anything to inspire them to play and stay is worthwhile.
To launch the annual music week when nearly all music classes are open and free to the public, we worked with other departments to make this exhibit happen. As early as February 2015, the Art Department helped get the artists and supplies together for the art and music improvisation event. The art supplies and picture hanging system were funded by the UHCC grant awarded for “Instrumental ensemble: sustainable learning community” project.
The acrylic paintings were created on the last day of the 2015 Maui Open Studios (MOS) in Heona Art Building. Pianists from the new 1-credit MUS203 Instrumental Ensemble class witnessed the birth of these works as they played on four digital pianos. [Read more.]
Staff from Robert Burton’s Operations & Maintenance team arrived early in the mornings in April, before classes took place, to measure and drill holes into concrete walls to install the picture-hanging brackets.
About the art and improvisation idea, UHMC art instructor Mike Takemoto said, “Having done similar events with Ebb and Flow Arts (with Emil Richards), I had a good idea of what to expect and how to proceed. I basically listened to the musicians and used the colors and shapes I saw in the music. There isn’t any rational explanation how or why that happened. If the event was on a different day or time and the music was the same, I am sure the painting would not look the same. I was simply translating the nonverbal language of music into the visual language of painting.”
First semester art student Angelina Gallegos recalled, “I felt as if I was re-learning or re-defining what art is or can be for me. When I attended the Art Music Improv, I decided that I would let my mind be a blank canvas and allow the music inspire my colors and brush strokes. With the rise and fall of the different pieces of music I found that it translated to a more a flowing vibe, rather than anything with sharp edges. It also felt like certain parts of the music translated to colors, such as red when there was more intensity in the music. The end result was a spontaneous painting that was inspired from some very beautiful music. It was a fun and different type of creative experience which I would love to do again! This was the perfect setting in which to bring these two amazing creative outlets together! Mahalo to all those involved in putting it together.”
During music week, the public was invited to visit Kupa’a 104 for numerous guest lectures, performances, and the Earth Day events. Molli Fleming and her Spanish 201 class joined the 1:30 p.m. MUS107 Music in World Cultures class for a live performance and lecture of music of Latin America. Joel Katz’ ukulele class joined the 9 a.m. piano class to kick-off Earth Day 2015. Peter Swanzy of Ebb and Flow Arts gave a lecture on electronics and computers in 20th century music for the WI-MUS106 Intro to Music Literature class on Thursday morning. In the same afternoon, immediately after the Hawai’i premiere of the documentary film “Following the Ninth: in the footsteps of Beethoven,“ Toshie Outlaw-Spruell and her daughter Nina came to see their paintings, together with others curious to hear and play the “Ode to Joy” with the instrumental ensemble.
Toshie who works for Maui Language Institute (MLI) heard about the event MOS through “Maui Announcements.” She said, “Since my daughter and I both love art and music, I applied for it immediately. It was a very luxurious experience for us to be able to draw while listening a live piano performance. The music inspired me and reminded me of a cardinal I saw in a forest on the way of walking. My daughter, Nina and her friend, Emma seemed to have gotten into their work in the wonderful atmosphere.”