Creating Exposure For Women Artists

Donia Lilly

Donia Lilly. Coco Zickos photo

The inaugural Women Artists of Kaua’i studio tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the places and spaces artists do their work

Meet some of Kaua’i’s talented artists up-close and personal this weekend during the first Women Artists of Kaua’i studio tour.

Kama’aina and visitors are invited to tour as many as 11 artists’ homes and studios located from Princeville to Waimea Feb. 25 and 26.

“People enjoy coming to an artist’s studio and seeing where they work, meeting them and viewing their art in that casual atmosphere rather than a gallery,” says Donia Lilly, who’s been integral in launching the inaugural event. “You get a peek behind the curtain of that creative process.”

An artist herself, Lilly has participated in studio tours on the Mainland.

“It is a big draw in other places that I’ve lived,” says Lilly, a pastel and acrylic artist. “People visit specifically for the artist studio tours.”

If the event is a success and becomes an annual tradition, it could inspire more visitors to frequent the island which, in turn, would help stimulate the economy.

“It becomes a real thing that people look forward to every year,” says Lilly.

But it isn’t just about turning a profit 20 percent of any art sales during the studio tour will be donated to the Zonta Club of Hanalei’s Scholarship Fund.

“It is my vision to provide a venue for women artists on this island to connect with art lovers while donating a percentage of our proceeds to a local charity,” says Marionette Tabionar, participating artist and coordinator for the Woman Artists of Kaua’i.

Marlene Czajkowski

Marlene Czajkowski. Photos courtesy Donia Lilly

The organization has wanted to hold an event like this for some time. Volunteering to take the reins, Lilly has helped make that happen by dedicating much of her time to marketing and graphic design.

“It’s been a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it,” she says.

Creative expression through art is important to Lilly, who also teaches her craft.

“People try to separate art, science and math, as if art is less important than those other subjects. Some people even view art as a waste of time,” she says. “But the creative thinking that you get from creating art and making something completely new can be applied to math and science, and can help people and students in ways you wouldn’t expect. If you’re just in a tunnel vision, you may not be able to solve problems as well as a much more creative thinker. It really allows you to utilize those different parts of your brain and intellect.”

Art reflects day-to-day life, desires and concerns, says Jane Abramo, president of the Zonta Club of Hanalei, which is a sponsor of the event.

“It inspires the viewer. We’re a visual society, what’s not to like?” she asks.

Anna Skaradzinska

Tabionar agrees, which is why she enjoys teaching watercolors, acrylics, silk painting and pastels.

“I love to pass on my knowledge and create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for anyone to learn how to create,” says Tabionar, owner of Painting Paradise.

“Through the eyes of an artist, a work of art can help us imagine what could be or remind us of what was,” adds Tabionar, who has taught people from age 4 to 94.

The tours are free and open to the public. Guests may choose which artists they would like to visit, and each studio may be open different hours and days. Some artists will offer refreshments. A map of the studio tour, along with a list of the featured artists, is included in this edition of MidWeek Kaua’i.