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Plein Air Artist Donates Painting to Bene?t Maui Voyaging Canoe

July 10, 2014
Maui Weekly

When professionals and businesses give back to the community, it's always a good story for Maui. This time, the lucky recipient is Maui's own voyaging canoe, Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani.

In a demonstration of respect and aloha, Debra Huse, a professional plein air painter from California, donated her original painting, "Launch the BIG Canoe," to Hui O Wa'a Kaulua, the nonpro?t organization responsible for building the canoe.

The organization will auction off the painting, valued at $1,100, after the Friday, July 11, canoe launch so as to not con?ict with activities occurring on the day of launch from Mala Wharf. Proceed will support Hui O Wa'a Kaulua's educational programs.

Article Photos

California resident Debra Huse, a professional plein air painter, donated her “Launch the BIG Canoe” to Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua. Pictured with Debra in front of the Mo‘okiha o Pi‘ilani is Lahaina waterman and crewmember Willy Shim.
Photo courtesy of Debra Huse

Huse is a frequent participant in the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational every February. Donating this art is her way to say "mahalo" to the hui for "sharing" Kamehameha Iki Park and supporting the artists and event organizers over the last nine years.

"I was very pleased and honored to hear of this gift from one of our wonderful Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational artists, and wanted to share the news with everyone on Maui," said Lois Reiswig, president of the West Maui Cultural Council. "It illustrates the deep aloha visiting artists have for our island."

Each February, Huse and 24 other professional plein air painters convene in Lahaina to produce 100 original art works within a week. One event activity is the "Paci?c'O Sunset Paint Out" at Kamehameha Iki Park. Crowds converge in the park to watch artists rapidly create paintings in plein air (outdoors). Artists capture beach scenes, sun seekers, a stunning hula dance model or sunrays glimmering across the channel to Lana'i. This year, many sketches, watercolors and oil paintings included the Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani.

"I hope all of the Maui community will turn out for the historic launch of Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani," said Captain Timi Gilliom. "After launch at Mala Wharf, we sail the canoe down to the mooring off Kamehameha Iki Park. The public is invited to come down and celebrate with us. Keep tuned for expected times."

Interested donors who wish to "buy it now" for $1,100 should email Hui o Wa'a Kaulua Treasurer Melanie Kehau King at



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