All too often, the creative arts take a back seat to the rigors of a tough academic curriculum.

For Punahou and ‘Iolani high schoolers Jaynie Fu and Emma Waters, however, finding a way for local students to not only to develop confidence in their creative thinking through music composition but to do it in a fun and immersive way, is paramount.

Together, Jaynie and Emma created HEARTBEATS to support youth programs offered by HoMA, under the guidance of the EFC Hawaiʻi Social Evolution program, which mentors students and teaches them about the many different facets of social responsibility and community involvement. This year, their goal is to raise $30,000 to fund the Soundshop program.

Since 2013, Soundshop has allowed students from local high schools to enter a creative space in which they can draw inspiration, write and perform hip-hop music with the help of local artists. The workshop starts with performances in the Doris Duke Theatre from seasoned musicians like Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-nominated artists, Scott Ohtoro and Navid Najafi. The artists share their creative process and narrative construction, then the students are broken up into intimate groups to brainstorm beats and lyrics with artist guidance in the museum’s galleries. The Soundshop ends with the students performing their collaborative piece as the grand finale.

“I think it’s really cool that we are going to be able to help [Soundshop] reach other schools so more kids can experience what the museum has to offer, [including] this program that brings someone out of their comfort zone and makes them express themselves in different ways,” explains Jaynie.

To kick off the charitable season, an inaugural fundraising event will be held at Sky Waikiki on December 15 with a special dinner curated by Chef Lance Kosaka and live entertainment by Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom.

Teachers can register their students for workshops (limit to 50 per session) by contacting Taylour Chang, Curator of Theatre and Performance, at gro.muesumululonohnull@gnahct or (808) 532-3033.