A bit of cosmopolitan fun, relaxation and art expression on Maui
American author Susan Vreeland noted ” . . . art begets art. Painting feeds the eye just as poetry feeds the ear, which is to say both feed the soul.” On Maui, the artistic soul is encouraged not just in the beauty of everyday life, but twice a year in conjunction with the exhibits featured at the Schaefer International Gallery when the Maui Arts & Cultural Center hosts the visual, performance and sound event known as ArT=Mixx.
This week, a fusion of every possible performing art comes together for one night in a party that celebrates the “GODDESS.” Capturing the essence of Piero Resta’s retrospective “Illuminatus” currently showing at the gallery, one sees that Resta celebrated women in his life and his art.
Patterned after the European-style electronic dance music festivals, ArT=Mixx was created as a way to reach out to the younger residents on Maui, according to gallery Director Neida Bangerter.
“In 2012, we wanted to collaborate with emerging artists and offer an event that would appeal to the younger generations here,” Bangerter explained. “And with the help of the County of Maui, we were able to make admission free.”
With more than 3,000 people attending these events over the years, it sounds like the idea hit its mark.
“We have the facility and the MACC tech team is state of the art,” pointed out Bangerter. “We want young people to participate at the MACC and EDM festivals are definitely popular with that group.
“ArT=Mixx is a chance for Maui adult residents of all ages to come together, be happy, relax, release, play and have fun in a nice, social gathering.”
Festival attendees can dress up in their fanciest clothes or go all out and show off their artistry with costumes as elaborate as those seen during Brazil’s Carnival.
“One of the comments I received about a past ArT=Mixx was from a young woman who said, ‘It’s safe for me to be here,’ and that was quite a compliment,” said Bangerter. “That’s what we’re trying to offer — a place you can meet like-minded people in a safe environment.”
While the party is going on all around, make no mistake, the entertainment is all curated and very professionally produced.
At this event, the 13th since they began, attendees will enjoy video projections from Visual Alchemy by Doug DeBoer; stage set, costume design and installations by Athena Medina; an interactive video installation entitled “Beauty” by Fuzz Box Productions (Trevor Arnholt, Marcus Kuenzel and Keegan House); and DJ Boomshot and DJ Sweets will tend to the dance music.
In keeping with the GODDESStheme, there will be appearances and performances by a variety of historical goddesses: Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat and political power; Isis, the Egyptian goddess of the feminine archetype of creation; Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, creation, destruction and power who liberates souls and is the divine mother of the universe; and Gaia, the Greek personification of Earth and the ancestral mother of all life. And just so us mere mortals don’t take for granted our interactions with the divine, other lower-level goddesses and gods will also make their appearance during the evening.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the evening. Food vendors include Habibi (with shawarma, falafel, hummus and tabouleh), Maui Empanadas and The Cupcake Lady. A full selection of hot and cold beverages will also be available.
As Bangerter wisely pointed out, “Without the arts, there is no culture.”
* ArT=Mixx: GODDESS runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. The event is free and open to adults age 21 and older. All attendees must have valid photo ID for entry.