About a month ago in this space, I wrote about an exhibit coming to Schaefer International Gallery by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's first artist-in-residence, Wes Bruce. Wes is a young visionary based in San Diego who builds forts.
He had recently started hauling pallets, scrap lumber, windows, doors and truckloads of decor items you'd never find at Pier 1 into the high-ceilinged gallery. The column announced several events where the public could watch the fort take shape. It was a work in progress.
Now the fort is built. It's the focus of "Taken by Wonder," Wes' exhibit that opened last weekend. The funky, rambling structure in the gallery is a magic place - part secret clubhouse, part forest cottage in a fairy tale. Kids have the easiest time "getting it" at first, gleefully rushing through its warren of hallways, checking out the stuff in each room. But before long, it's working on the grown-ups, turning them into kids, too.
It's still a work in progress.
You have to enter it, be inside it, to experience it. Once you're in it, you're part of it. Whatever you do in there becomes part of its process, altering it every second.
The exhibit continues through Nov. 2. It's thought-provoking, free and fun. Wonder, after all, is precious stuff. It's a shame to waste a chance at it whenever one comes your way.
The reminder that all life can be art if you just know where to put the frame followed me out of the gallery Saturday night to observe droves of local families carrying blankets and lawn chairs into the MACC amphitheater in the pastel twilight. They were there for the Starry Night Cinema, featuring a free screening of the recent animated comedy hit, "Wreck-It Ralph."
The scene echoed summer-night drive-ins of old, sparked by another form of wonder - kids' excitement at staying up late, outside, for some movie magic. There were no cars in this version, but wherever there was open lawn space, there were kids running across it. It was the Celestial Cinema for people under 4-feet tall.
In remarks before the opening of "Taken by Wonder," MACC President /CEO Art Vento, gallery director Neida Bangerter and kupuna Uncle Leslie Kuloloio, had referred to very specific totems of Maui history artfully incorporated into the fort.
It was uncanny that a young haole from California could tap into local mythology so insightfully, they observed. Their comments reminded me that "Maui Community" was part of the center's name when it began - and the words remain the core of its mission today. The kids running across the grass before the movie made the same point. For all the celebrities and moguls joining the local population, and for all the exciting big-ticket shows hitting MACC stages, it's the free ones that bring it all home.
Speaking of free, KHET Hawaii Public Television is rebroadcasting the Emmy-nominated, produced-on-Maui "When the Mountain Calls - Nepal - Tibet - Bhutan" at 9 this evening on Channel 11. The documentary featuring appearances by Kris Kristofferson, the Dalai Lama and others, follows Maui psychologist Dr. Tom Vendetti's adventures and discoveries over 30 years trekking in the Himalayas.
As many of you know - and full disclosure calls for mentioning - I was privileged to write the script for the film, co-produced by Vendetti and Maui's Robert Stone.
After its world premiere at the MACC in 2011, it played on almost 200 public broadcasting stations around the world en route to its Emmy nomination. So tonight's rebroadcast feels like a completion of the journey . . . and a teaser for our next film project.
It's called "The Quietest Place on Earth" about Haleakala Crater. It features an amazing "cast" of interview subjects pondering the sound of silence when our own mountain calls. It's coming early next year to a spot inside you.
* Contact Rick Chatenever at email@example.com