Curtain Call For WW Arts Council

After decades of nurturing and developing an impressive network of arts fans and events, Windward Arts Council plans to “bow out” by Aug. 31 – but not entirely.

Citing the WAC steering committee’s graying profile – the average age of its 13-member panel and membership is approaching 80 – president Jane Campbell also pointed out recently that most of the council’s pet projects are successfully launched and supported.

“We sense a time of change once again that may involve a new mandate of new leadership for WAC,” said Campbell, former managing director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth. “We intend to start a dialogue with members and communities on what can be the best road to the future.”

The group’s veteran treasurer, A.T. “Red” Miller, made another succinct point: “After some 50 years,” he said, “we’ve grown old and tired like Pope Benedict did!”

The first WAC was founded in the mid-1970s to create a performing arts center. Mission unfulfilled, a second WAC reorganized a decade later to nurture and celebrate Windward talents in all disciplines. Among its signature projects and partnerships: Chamber Music Hawaii’s Windward concerts, Windward Choral Society, teen art awards, a poet residency, Pohai Nani’s free music nights, Calvary Episcopal Church’s classics concerts, WCC’s Rain Bird Golden Plover awards, benefit garage sales, Boys and Girls Windward Clubhouse arts classes, women’s prison writing project, Star Poets, Readers Theatre, Paliku Theatre receptions and ushering at Paliku and HPU theater events.

The group’s most visible public resource has been its bi-monthly Artsletter, which ceased publication with its May-June edition. Distributed widely and for free on the Windward side, the newsletter was full of listings of plays, recitals, talks, concerts, art exhibits and sales, awards, writing contests and retreats. Since 2002, Gail Kiefer has been its editor and Campbell its president. Both live in Kailua.

“It has been an invaluable source of arts information for our community,” said state Sen. Jill Tokuda of the newsletter, “and it would be great to see it continue on in some form.” One way to keep it alive, she suggested, would be online.

To offer help or ideas, call Tokuda at 587-7215 or email, or Campbell at 254-4885, or