Now that it’s the time of year for special gifts, lovers of fine craft and locally made art are wondering what has become of Nohea Gallery, formerly in Ward Warehouse. Far from fading away, Nohea moved into the Hyatt Regency, and now, Nohea Gallery has opened a flagship store in Kāhala Mall. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports they’ve been connecting artists and art lovers for the past 28 years.
Laurie Baron started Nohea Gallery 28 years ago with her mother, Gail. I was pleased to meet her son, Noah there, helping out---but we shall lose him soon to engineering studies in Singapore. Nohea Gallery is traditionally a family style operation. Always in the same location, on a corner at Ward Warehouse, Nohea provided financial continuity for its artists through thick and thin.
Baron: Everybody, every artist has their story, their dreams, their aspirations and their history and weaving it together is the project. It’s a delight. It’s really an honor and we’re very grateful to have a place in people’s lives and be able to connect.
Economist, drummer, oil painter Greg Pai is showing expansive cloud paintings, Brenda Cablayan has very satisfying landscapes and street scenes on view, Russell Lowrey has a beachscape that’s all shifting shadows with a fishnet hanging, and that languid Kailua water behind. Glassware, ceramics, wood, are all represented handsomely. Burgundy Cassidy is showing stunning new shibori wraps. There are new Salty Girl jewelry designs, along with more classic pieces by Lynda Caris under Muse IX Designs. Baron says Rhoda J jewelry pieces are gaining popularity.
Laurie and Gail Baron have connected artists and collectors, craftspeople and everyone who wants to use nice things, for the last 28 years. If you are a fine craftsperson, this is the kind of support you need. Laurie says she welcomes artists to bring in their work for possible inclusion.
Baron: Usually they walk in the door and they ask. I like to see what they’re making. Email is terrific for that. It’s challenging to help them move forward without hurting anybody’s feelings. Some are ready and some need a little bit of support. We do what we can, we can’t show everybody, but we try to find a new way to be useful.
How is that for a supportive environment?
Baron: Pop ups are wonderful, having a website is wonderful, but having an enduring presence is also very useful. People have to actually find your website, people have to go to the pop up, and not everybody does all of those things.
Galleries are kind of a huge responsibility, they’re a yawning chasm for potential programming, and that’s what it takes to keep people coming in. Nohea will be offering watercolor workshops, card making sessions, and even a waterless shibori scarf making class.
Baron: It’s going to be a fabulous year. And people don’t always need an object, but they do need community , and they need beauty and they need to be connected with what’s going on around them. Just like we do in our search for meaning together. It’s definitely a journey.
Right, we’re searching for meaning together? So what do people want to get and give?
Baron: They want to buy things that are meaningful, things that are useful, things that share a feeling, things that give joy to the soul, to the heart. And that’s a tall order. That’s what people want, I think.
Well of course. Hey, it’s been a tough year. And we know we have 2019 cut out for us.
I hope you weren’t planning on making it through the season without music. Mahalo to pianist Rich Crandall, with Bruce Hamada, bass, and drummer Stacey Tangonan for the Jazz Christmas party this week.
Some of us have become cynical. Perhaps frustrated. Maybe too critical for our own good.
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a Merry little Christmas now