Art History

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Lahaina arts gallery
Thanks to the Lahaina Arts Society, the real action has taken place, these past fifty years, in two indoor galleries, and on the mauka-side grounds, where a block-encompassing banyan tree shelters artists like Michael Stark and Rachel Fabbio, who display their works here for sale.

Two women in particular, Lolita Freeland and Joan McKelvey, launched the idea of a local artists’ collective. “That was a time art began to really rear its head,” says McKelvey, now ninety-one. She remembers the arrival of artist George Allan, crewing aboard a dubiously historic whaling ship called Carthaginian, destined to become a town monument. Allan, a pioneer of Maui art and creator of the wall of palette-knife oil portraits on permanent display in the MACC’s Castle Theater, says, “Lahaina was a great little town, full of nice people, laid-back.” He worked with community volunteers to clear out the junk and rodents in the courthouse’s basement jail, now an exhibition space. Even though he was a vagabond Aussie, “They all took me in hand,” he says. “We all had fun. Someone gave me an easel.”

And then Maui art moved ahead—friendly, inclusive, mounted on the free-spirited summer-of-love model of 1967 Lahaina Arts Society.

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