Well...Jump ahead 6 months (Sept 2021) and a lot has happened!
Our location at the Marriott is still going after a successful summer in
Waikiki. The tourists came back and we got busy! We shipped lots of local
Hawaiʻi art all over the US. Not much internationally though because most of
the visitors were from the States.
Marriott is very happy with our presence there and continues to support us.
As for our main location (25 years now!) we've been crazy busy! Our picture
frame shop can barely keep up with the demand. I think after a few months
stuck in the house because of covid, people got tired of their old art and
frames and came to us to upgrade their picture frames.
We've sold lots of art too! So far we have had the biggest year ever at
Sunshine Arts! We have many happy artists and the bills are all paid!
That's a lot to say in the art world. Our struggle to pay the bills and the
overhead and the artists has become a struggle to keep up with the framing and
shipping! This is a Good Thing!
During the covid shutdown I had time to focus on some other projects. We gave
the gallery an inside face lift with new paint and rugs. We also re-built our
website so it is easy to navigate and find beautiful art.
We've added many new artists and have acquired a tremendous inventory of art
as some artists had to vacate Hawaiʻi because of the strain covid put on them.
We're storing much of their art until they can return.
One such artist, Dennis Morton, brought me every canvas he had here in Hawaiʻi
as some of the other galleries had closed down...which inspired another
project I did during covid. Dennis has an amazing story about his life and art
career. I've know him for 25 years and really wanted to see his story in book
form so I found a publishing company and Voila! We have a new book called
"Sunlit Shadows". It's basically an auto biography written by Dennis about his
journey through life. It's an amazing story and is full of insight as to how
and why each painting works. It is also an inspiring story of gratitude and
over-coming hardship. It is a must read!
Which brings me to today. A few weeks ago a nice family from back east came to the gallery to check out the local art. Their 12 year old daughter Becca, an aspiring artist insisted that they stop so she could see the local artwork. The Mom, Robyn, was hesitant to come in because of our slightly funky look on the outside but held true to her daughter's request.
Once they got inside they discovered our huge stable of talented Hawaiʻi
artists. Dennis Morton was one of those discovered, and, long story short, his
art will be hanging in the family's new home and we're all going back for a
reception put on by Robyn with all her art collector friends invited! She
actually ordered 50 books to hand out to the guests! We're all very excited,
especially Dennis who will be the guest of honor. He also will be painting
Robyn's three daughters portraits but they will not be finished in time for
the reception in November.
To sum it up: We've had a very exciting year and will continue to open our
doors every day, 7 days a week, because you never know who might walk through
those doors and change your life...and theirs too!
Sunshine Arts Inc
Welcome to the Sunshine Arts newsletter. This is something new to me so bear with my rambling, I have 23 years of writing to catch up on!
I will start with our covid experience and then work backwards through the many stories and experiences throughout the last 23 years of doing business in Kahalu'u in an old building that actually started as an artist supply store called "Shirley's Art Supplies”. Shirley and her husband built the building in 1979 just for that business and operated it for about 10 years. My association with the building began in 1997. At that time a famous artists family, the Makks, owned the building and had plans to create a gift shop called "Sunshine Arts and Gifts". That's where I got our name “Sunshine Arts".
Covid closed us down in March of last year (2020) for 2 1/2 months. We were on track to have a good year but like all of us, normal life came to a screeching halt! When we were finally allowed to re-open in May I speculated that we would not really have much business as we are far from "essential".
Boy was I wrong!
I think everyone stuck at home had to look at the same old art and picture frames on the wall and decided they needed an upgrade. We were busy from day 1 of the re-opening and continue to be so. Even the art is selling well so we have some happy artists who are getting checks in the mail as their art sells.
By June I got my entire staff back to work and we have kept up the busy pace to this day.
Our Marriott location was not so fortunate as the hotel was completely boarded up for eight months. They did not take the barriers down until November. I was ready to move out, but luckily I received some PPP funds from the government and negotiated a rent deal for a percentage of sales. With the PPP funds I was able to put my manager, Kristin, back to work and we were able to keep the location open so the Marriott didn't look so closed down. Pretty much all of the other tenants moved out so we stand out like a shining star with all the beautiful art and the lights on 24/7.
Kristin is starting to do some business there and we are hoping to survive until the tourists come back. Waikiki was a ghost town during covid but we are starting to see more and more visitors at the beaches and in the hotels.You can check out the gallery at the gallery tour on the website. That's it for my first "newsletter" for Sunshine Arts Inc. Stay tuned for my next ramble!