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One day out of the year, the arts take center stage at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa.

From Rakugo, or Japanese comedy, to paintings, ceramics, blown glass, silk screening, face and body painting and even zombie making—it was all part of the 2nd annual Ka Leo Arts Festival held each fall on McCarthy Mall. It featured 50 booths and assorted displays and more than 30 live performances.

“It’s everything encompassing art,” said Samantha Court, the Ka Leo public relations coordinator and organizer of the event. “It’s everything to do with the art building, Kennedy Theater, Hamilton Library, performances, dancing, singing, everything.”

UH Mānoa Students also took advantage of the opportunity to show their work. There was an interactive live painting by a group of art students and a sculpture by Kenny Liu made from toy army soldiers.

“I’m really enjoying it because everyone comes by, stops by and looks at my artwork,” said UH Mānoa art student Kenny Liu. “It’s really fun.”

“It’s really fun to have the community come out and participate,” said UH Mānoa Art Professor Deborah Drexler.

Those who attended the festival agreed.

“Glass blowing, I did not know that existed,” said UH Mānoa graduate student Marcus Nakama. “Met my friend here, I didn’t know he was an art major so it was good. Nice exposure for them.”

“What I really like is the variety actually,” said Marisa Mendoza, who is also a graduate student at UH Mānoa. “We were looking at the glass booths. We were looking at the paintings, the photography and I love how the students get to express and explain their art, where their ideas came from, how they did it.”

That’s music to the ears of the festival organizers who say the main goal is to bring more awareness to the university’s thriving arts community, but it’s not the only goal.

“I just hope that everyone gets a better sense of community,” said Amanda Woodcock, a UH Mānoa student and festival organizer. “I think that UH struggles with students getting together.”

Not on this day, as an estimated 4,000 people attended the Ka Leo Arts Festival. They enjoyed a whole lot of art…and avoided a Zombie or two.

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