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"Connections" brings together community and artists

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-02-14

An impressive array of art and artists were on hand at the opening party for the "Connections" art show on February 6. The exhibition, which is sponsored by the Okinawa Prefecture Government Board of Education and the Okinawa Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau, is taking place at the Guwa Inn Restaurant, located in the Tropical Technology Center. It was organized by artist Dr. Joyce Trafton Ph.D., who is also a professor at the University of Maryland here on Okinawa. The theme of the art show is based on the connections that were made through the participating artists, who are both American and Okinawan, and their styles.

Victoria Culbertson, Soshin Hirakawa, Naoto Kadekaru, George Lamson, Sokei Machida, Noboru Shinmon, Joyce Trafton, and Linda Wilhelm were the eight artists present, displaying their work.

Many of the artists hold an impressive resume of awards, art shows, and educational presentations to go along with their superb artistic talents. But, the variety in styles and expressions is what makes this art exhibition special. Two of the Okinawan artists are handicapped, giving art appreciators a chance to view work, expressed through emotions and feelings from individuals, whose experiences have been quite different than that of the average person.

Trafton, who was responsible for bringing together these artists, commented, "The main reason was to inform individuals that handicapped people have as much ability as anyone else. It is also a chance for Americans and Okinawans to do art together." The talented and very gracious artist did a fantastic job at coordinating an event that even people outside of the art community could benefit from. Her work on display is also something to be appreciated, pouring out with deep self expression, which fills the viewer with immense feeling.

Another one of the artists on hand, Victoria Culbertson, also felt the art show was a success. "I think it's a great opportunity to get to know different styles of art, and to also help us promote our work," explained Culbertson. The artist's beautiful portraits on exhibit at "Connections" make you feel as if you are watching the scene take place before your eyes.

There were also many others that helped to make the show and the party a success. The musicians, Art Flores, Tom Gerald, and Stan Hays, all volunteered their time to play for the event, and many other volunteers came to help and give their support. Part of the money, that was paid by the guests for the party, was also donated to artist Noboru Shinmon's school to help handicapped individuals become more independent.

The "Connections" art show will be going on until February 28, so there is still time to see the beautiful work on display. Anyone that enjoys art and culture should pay a visit to the Tropical Technology Center.

From Gate 2 go straight until you reach the other side of the island and cross over Highway 329. Continue going straight and turn left at the Takahara intersection. follow the road until you begin to see a canal on your right. Turn right at the second bridge after you have passed the port and park area. Look for the "TTC" building. For more information in English call 935-5579.

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