Most of the classes at Leeward Community College have shifted to online instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for visual arts students to create and showcase their creations. Through a new partnership, students will have an opportunity to display select works of art in the West Oʻahu Medical Office at Kapolei—Kaiser Permanente’s newest state-of-the-art facility.

This 40,000-square-foot facility will feature family, adult and keiki care, a laboratory, a pharmacy, and a “Thrive Path” and garden with Native Hawaiian healing plants. Displaying artwork from local artists and students in the community also contributes to this environment that is designed for healing.

“Not only are we offering new technology…but we want it to be a place of healing and engagement with all of our partners in the community itself,” said Jenn Cabael, clinic manager, West Oʻahu Medical Office.

The idea to feature student artwork began with Richele Thornburg, Kaiser Permanente’s vice president for strategy, leadership and communications, and Hyewon Jun, assistant associate medical director, service and onboarding, who worked with James Goodman, Leeward CC’s dean of arts and sciences, to preview the facilities and student artwork on campus. Although classes were out of session that day, a number of art instructors opened their classrooms for this tour.

Uplifting, positive images

Mike Harada installing his work
Mike Harada installing his work (click/tap for larger image)

With a limited number of pieces from students available, the decision was made to start by featuring work done by Leeward CC’s faculty. Fine Arts Instructor Mike Harada, had some prints he did for Kumu Kahua Theatre’s promotion of Lee Cataluna’s play Folks you Meet in Longs, and these lighthearted images were a perfect fit for the chosen space near the urgent care and behavioral health wings.

Harada said, “In the moment of dealing with someone who needs urgent care, we thought it would be wonderful to have something that is uplifting (for those waiting) to help them focus on the positive.”

Harada’s work will be on display when the clinic opens in April 2021, followed by instructor Tom Walker, who will be exhibiting his artwork during June and July. In August, Leeward CC alumnus Gian Paulo Mauricio will be featured. Mauricio is currently completing his first year of study at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He excels in drawing and painting, using both traditional and digital media.

“Gian represents the direction the visual arts are headed in the 21st century,” said Harada.

Kaiser Permanente hopes to showcase more Leeward CC student artwork at the facility in the future.

Learn more about Leeward CC’s Fine and Visual Arts programs.

Learn more about the West Oʻahu Medical Office at Kapolei.

—by Tad Saiki

Mike Harada with his art
Mike Harada