‘Small Town, Big Stories’ celebrates community personalities | News, Sports, Jobs

Retired aquatic biologist Skippy Hau (right) shares stories alongside Dean Tokishi and Sissy Lake-Farm at the Small Town, Big Stories project premiere on April 1 at the Iao Theater in Wailuku City. CHRIS SUGIDANO photos

Maui News

More than 100 people gathered at the historic ‘Iao Theater last week for the premiere of six animated shorts that highlight the stories of 12 Maui community members.

The films were the latest initiative of Small Town Big Art, which pairs professional artists with community consultants to co-create public art that celebrates the town of Wailuku’s history, culture and sense of place, according to A press release.

For its first two Requests for Proposals, Small Town Big Art sought out artists to create new Wailuku-inspired works through field trips, consultations, and hands-on workshops that were more difficult to achieve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, Small Town Big Art artist Leilehua Yuen created a virtual storytelling series, a collective of students who recorded audio exchanges with kupuna that were handpicked by the executive director of the Maui Historical Society, Sissy Lake-Farm, and others who agreed to participate.

Kumu Hula Gordean Bailey speaks at the premiere of the Small Town, Big Stories project at the Iao Theater in Wailuku Town on April 1.

In partnership with StoryCorps DIY and Akaku Maui Community Media, Small Town Big Art has made six excerpts from the talk story sessions the basis of its latest call for artists, seeking proposals to translate this pilot collection of stories into artwork. visual, performance or experiential art. .

Over the course of four months, Richard O’Connor and his team of artists at Ace & Son Moving Picture Co. assembled the six animated shorts using audio from 12 cross-generational community members – Kepa Maly, Lopaka White, Roselle Bailey, Anuhea Yagi, Skippy Hau, Dean Tokishi, Wallette Pellegrino, Kalapana Kollars, Clifford Nae’ole, Hokuao Pellegrino, Gordean Bailey, and Lake-Farm.

While premiering the animations at the ‘Iao Theater on April 1, graduate students from Ball State University’s Center for Emerging Media Design, which works with Small Town Big Art, also demonstrated a new, free tool for generating, capturing, and sharing new stories from the public

Stills of O’Connor’s animations will be on view at the Wailuku Coffee Company at 26 N. Market St. throughout April, with individual QR codes linking to the full animations, which can also be found at smalltownbig.org/ace.

Center for Emerging Media Design students stayed on Maui through Wednesday and plan to release their latest story-generation tool in May. Development details can be found at smalltownbig.org/smalltownbigstories.

Lopaka White of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission speaks at the April 1 event.

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