With the rich culture, here in Hawaii, comes an abundance of artists who strive to promote the values cherished by our community. Although we most commonly see this in hula and song, local visual artists are working hard to do so as well. Artist and high school teacher Boz Schurr not only creates art that benefits the community, but empowers youth to do so as well.
Schurr originates from Oregon and got her bachelor’s degree from Portland State University, in both, fine arts and graphic design, before moving to Oahu to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Although she always had a passion for art, it wasn’t until middle school she realized her interest in teaching. Schurr says that her seventh grade art teacher “believed in her before she believed in herself” which is what inspired her to teach art as well.
Schurr has a predilection for murals and had previously taught a mural painting class to the public at the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House. She has also recently been selected as this years featured artist at the Mental Health Hawaii’s annual gala and fundraiser. The
fundraiser is to be held on October 18, 2018 at Café Julia from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. The event aims to “celebrate the connection between art and mental health in an open and accepting way, in order to reduce stigma and encourage participants to continue the conversation.” Tickets are available at http://mentalhealthhawaii.org/events/ .
Schurr now works at Kamehameha Schools but had previously taught at Island Pacific Academy here in Kapolei for the past five years. During her time at Island Pacific Academy she led the National Arts Honors Society in the painting of several murals, including one at the Child and Family Services Domestic Abuse Shelter.
This particular mural enabled Schurr to teach students about the reality of domestic violence and abusive relationships all while showing them how they can use art to help those who are struggling. Although there was no way in knowing the sea-themed mural would have any impact on the families who resided there “you have to do it anyway because you never know if it might make a difference,” Schurr told her students.
Since the mural’s completion the shelter has received better donations as it showed how those at Child and Family Services are working to give their residents a better place to live. A child living in the shelter confided in Schurr telling her that before it had felt like a place to just “run and hide,” but ever since the mural had been painted it felt like a “safe place, like she’s coming home.”
Artists, like Boz Schurr, embody the spirit of Aloha by using their gift in art to invoke positive change in our community. It’s our local artists who work to enhance the beauty of Hawaii, as well as our teachers, who inspire and educate our keiki who are the most deserving of our support.