KCC is one of the many partners for Nea Big Read Hawai’i, which will be hosting more than a dozen workshops to highlight art and storytelling from Thursday until April 22. (Photo by Shawna Takaki)

By Shawna Takaki | Staff Writer

From this Thursday until April 22, there will be art and storytelling events from — basket-making, Okinawan dancing, comic-book publishing, block-printing, and many more — hosted by Nea Big Read Hawai’i and several partners, including Kapi’olani Community College.

They are free, and can be accessed online over Zoom. To attend, just register on the website.

“It’s a free celebration of poetry, art, and storytelling,” said Steven Kealohapauʻole Hong-Ming Wong, who goes by the stage name of Kealoha, one of the presenters and an expert poet, in this video welcoming people to Nea Big Read Hawai’i.

It’s possible to personally talk to experts of their various fields and have a great opportunity to learn about many different careers.

For people interested in writing, the first workshops, held this Thursday, are “Poetry, Stories, Life” (6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and “Poetic Elements” (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.), both hosted by Kealoha. He is an acclaimed writer and the first Poet Laureate of Hawai’i. At the end of the first workshop, people learn about his story, and his second workshop is a slam poetry workshop to create an unique piece.

Workshops particularly helpful for artists on the KCC campus are “Solomon Enos: The Land Is The Canvas,” which shows many pieces of his artwork and has a discussion of it on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. A workshop on the book “Manu, The Boy Who Loved Birds” opens up a conversation with Caren Loebel-Fried, the artist and author of the storybook, on April 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

“For Big Read, I will talk about my adventures with native birds in remote places, and reveal how I bring these birds to life in books and art. I’ll share many ideas to inspire artists and writers of all ages to tell their own wildlife stories!” Loebel-Fried said.

There is also a screening of “Waikiki, the Film” on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The award-winning movie screened at (HIFF) Hawai‘i International Film Festival in 2020, and Connie Florez, the film’s producer and director, will be on hand to speak about the film.

To find more infomation about all 16 workshops hosted by Nea Big Read Hawai’i, click here

After attending any workshop, the Board of Student Publications is asking for submissions of creative work inspired by a workshop. Prizes include two movie ticket vouchers for any movie at one of the Consolidated Theaters and a free book which can be chosen by the submitter. The work will also be posted on the Big Read Hawai’i website on April 27.

Submissions can include anything from art to photography to poetry, and any student attending Kapi‘olani Community College can submit anytime after the first workshop until April 25. You can submit at this link.

To further engage with the event, there are many libraries around the islands, specified here, where it’s possible to pick up high-quality free books, crafts, and more. These are also available on campus at the Lama Library. 

For more information, check out Nea Big Read Hawai’i.