Date of Press Release: 1-14-2016
When Pua Maunu began a solo artist-in-residence stay in the Ernest Gruening Amalga Harbor cabin at the end of August, the weather was less than inspiring. “At first it was typical gray and rainy Southeast weather,” said Maunu, who was one of eight Alaskan artists selected by the Department of Natural Resources to capture the beauty in and around the State Historical Park. “But then there was some sort of shift in the time I was there. I would sit at the same table every morning and look out at the view and it would actually change. I started noticing the nuances of nature, minute changes. For a season that was supposedly slowing down and getting ready for winter it was full of so much life; life within the darkness.”
Maunu will be the guest artist and teacher for the UAS Juneau campus Alumni and Friends event, “Art and Wine 101” on Sat., Jan. 30, 2–5 p.m. in Studio 105 in the Soboleff building. The cost is $90 for non-members, and $75 for members. Catering is by Abby’s Kitchen and wine is complimentary.
Participants will be introduced to the concepts of color theory, composition and form and come away with an 8x8 ‘practice’ canvas and a larger 12x16 canvas painting. “Whatever people create will be beautiful. You don’t have to draw perfectly.” said Maunu, who is best known for her abstract style.
Training in San Francisco with Guatemalan artist Carlos Loarca helped her recognize “moments of grace” even in weather we often dismiss as Southeast Alaskan gray during the fall rainy season. The residency inspired her to fill her canvas with paint reflecting the blue of the mountains, the sun breaks in the sky and the murder of crows bathing in the salt chuck by Gruening’s cabin.
“I thought I might get bored but at the end it would have been nice to have another two weeks to have that time. It was mine, all mine,” said Maunu.
As part of the DNR agreement, Maunu hosted an open house for the public, wherein attendees took a walk around the cabin grounds and learned about the former governor. Materials were provided for those who wanted to try their hand at painting. “It was a little nerve wracking not knowing what their expectations were but it was fun,” she said. She even had members of a local art group which she co-founded, Plein Rein, join her. It inspired her to share her love of art once again with locals who may be looking for inspiration during these last dark days of winter.
Maunu is a well-known local artist whose work has been showcased throughout Juneau, most recently at Coppa and Annie Kaill’s. She also holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“I think that art and architecture are closely related in ways of seeing the environment,” said Maunu, who is the Project Manager for Facilities Planning & Construction at the University of Alaska Southeast. “I love what I do here at UAS. We do have to get the job done working with facilities and construction, but there’s a creative side as well, which focuses on how we make it better for students.”
Making life better for students was a big reason she decided to volunteer her talents for “Art and Wine 101”. “What a great concept because you’re having fun, doing something creative and creating something you can take home and put up on the wall. And you get the excitement of experimenting and playing and learning something new. Also, it’s a really worthy thing for the University to raise money for students. Drink some wine, make it a lot of fun and laugh.”
All the proceeds from the evening will go directly to scholarships for students.