There was much to celebrate around the kitchen table in the late hours after CONVERGENCE, the Mill’s 15th annual live art auction on February 26th as a scaled-back event under the remaining COVID restrictions. It was a magical evening where:
- The word CONVERGENCE–rooted in our mission as a “place of convergence”–imbued every conversation, humming in the air like a prayer
- 67 artists, our donors, volunteers, sponsors, staff and Board raised over $96,900 having surpassed our $80K goal
- The Donkey Mill received multiple honors:
- Sen. Dru Kanuha and Rep. Jeanné Kapela presented on behalf of the Hawai’i State Legislature
- Mayor Roth who also broke the exciting news of his decision to proclaim April as an arts appreciation month–stay tuned!
- Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, and partner Charter Communications, Inc.’s 2021-2022 Stand For The Arts Award, as one of 15 organizations recognized nationwide.
This event marked what feels like a whole new level of recognition and responsibility shared by the Donkey Mill’s staff and Board as a purpose-driven organization. Our strategic plan focused on capacity building couldn’t be more timely as, in the past week:
- A humbling and affirming article about our Wodde Jippel partnership was released in Hana Hou, the inflight magazine of Hawaiian Airlines. The article provides a deeper understanding of Wodde Jippel’s purpose and demonstrates the Mill’s commitment to build partnerships that further our reach to underserved communities.
- I toured the Hawaii State Capitol as a guest of Rep. Jeanne Kapela. and met with Rep. Nicole Lowen, a strong supporter of the Donkey Mill for many years, who reminded me that our reach is truly beyond districts in service to all of West Hawai’i.
- The Hawai’i State Board of Education approved the adoption of the National Core Arts Standards paving the way for greater access to the arts in public schools.
- We painfully come to terms with the fact that as we rejoice, Ukraine is under attack and many “others” suffer around the world, near and far, as victims of countless injustices.
Artists are seers and through the creative process are our doers, reactionaries, our visionaries, sentinels and guides. Where words fall short, may the Donkey Mill’s impact as a place of convergence express our heartfelt thanks to our many supporters, donors, sponsors, founders, artists, dreamers, activists, the Hawai’i State Legislature, the Mayor’s office, County Council members (Council member Rebecca Villegas, you touched upon the marrow of our programs in sharing your firsthand experience as a student of kapa), OvationTV, Charter Communications, Lili Tokuda (our eldest auction paddle raiser at 99 years old!), to each and all.
Thank you for your courage, care and belief in the power of the arts to inform, inspire and strengthen individual and collective well-being. It’s an honor, a privilege and a world of good to stand for the arts, together.