Can Art & Hat Workshops @Papakōlea Community Center

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The Roosevelt Junior Board is hosting a Can Art workshop this Saturday, June 22nd from 3-5pm and a Hat workshop Saturday July 20th from 3-5pm at the Papkōlea Community Center. In the late 1800s, many Hawaiians were displaced from their land in the rural parts of O’ahu and crowded into downtown tenements in search of work, according to state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands records. Several of those Hawaiian families moved onto public lands above Punchbowl crater looking for a healthy, self-sufficient life. They created the first neighborhood of Papkōlea. Today Papkōlea is a 27-acre homestead with 270 homes and about 1,500 residents near the entrance to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The community was added to the Hawaiian Homestead Act in 1934.

The act provides for awarding Hawaiian home lands for homestead purposes to eligible applicants who are “native Hawaiian” which is defined as someone who has no less than 50 percent Hawaiian ancestry and who is at least 18 years old. Approximately 200,000 acres of homestead lands are provided for in the Hawaiian Home Lands program. These lands are on O’ahu, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i for residential, agricultural, and pastoral homestead leases.

With summer here, members of 808 Urban’s Roosevelt Junior Board are ready to fulfill their mission by participating in a community revitalization project in Papakōlea.  In April 2013, these talented young artists contacted the community board of Papakolea in hopes to collaborate with them in their efforts to promote community change through their artwork.  Since then, they are set to host 2 art workshops and a large-scale mural on the outside of the community center.

The parents of the neighborhood are very enthusiastic about this project, because it gives their children something productive to do during these summer days and offers them an opportunity to help beautify their community.  Laetitia Mahoney, lead artist of the Roosevelt Junior Board says, “There are a lot of troubled youth in this neighborhood, so this is something very positive for them to do.”  She says that art has the power to bring people together and keep kids out of trouble.

There will be two separate workshops held in efforts to raise money for the production of the final mural, which will be created this August.  There will be a recycled spray can workshop on June 22nd; the Roosevelt board will sell $3 cans to the children in the neighborhood so they can paint them.  Then, on July 20th, there will be a hat workshop; $5 hats will be sold and the children and youth  will be able to paint them.  Both of these workshops will not only raise funds, but it will help engage the youth in preparation for the mural in August.  The board is also applying for their first mini-grant from the Awesome Foundation.

This is a great opportunity to engage in the culture within a Hawai’ian community.  In preparation of the mural painting, the board will go on a cultural tour to learn the history of Papakōlea.  Part of each board’s mission is to find the unique stories of the areas they represent and to share these visually on the walls in their community.   The Roosevelt Junior Board thinks this is a great opportunity for youth in the neighborhood to get involved with the board and hopefully join.  Laetitia says, “The board is active in Roosevelt High School, and this project can bring more kids together for the same cause.”   This gives youth in Papakōlea the opportunity to join the Roosevelt Junior Board and ensure the continuation of the board’s mission within their community.

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