Today is Museum Day, organized by Smithsonian Magazine, and people have been taking advantage of their free passes. So far more than 250 people have come with their print outs. Thanks everyone! So much is going on—there are a lot of ways to be part of the art at the Academy these days.

Nelson writing a haiku

This is Nelson, who studies Japanese, in the exhibition “Hokusai’s Summit: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” He’s carefully crafting a haiku—in kanji! He explained that one of the lines refers to Buddha Amida. What an extraordinary young man. Once he’s done, his haiku will be placed in a scroll that is part of the exhibition. Anyone can come and contemplate the woodblock prints and write a haiku about what they experience.

Making a woodblock print at Hokusai's SummitYou can also experience what it’s like to make a woodblock print right in the gallery. There are four stations throughout the exhibition and you can do a four-color print of Hokusai’s “Red Fuji” on the back of the gallery guide available at the gallery entrance. OK, you actually use rubber stamps, but the designs were made by the Education Department’s Maika‘i Tubbs and Aaron Padilla (they’re also both accomplished artists). At the members’ reception on Sept. 23, people were going crazy with the stamps. Art makes people want to make art.

Artist in residence Allison Uttley stretching Mylar foil for her installation

Meanwhile Allison Uttley is in the Museum Learning Center’s Gallery 31 Art Studio. As the first Arthur and Mae Orvis Foundation Artist in Residence, she’s set up shop down there and is working on a dreamy installation. Here she is stretching a huge sheet of Mylar foil. She will then draw a design on it, go over the design lines with a heat-sealing iron, cut out the shape, then inflate it with helium. To produce sculptural forms like this:

Allison Uttley's installation

It’s lovely walking among them as they lazily bob in the gallery. Allison has also filled a couple of ghostly garbage bags, which remind me of that mesmerizing video in “American Beauty.” At Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday on Sept. 20, people could draw their own designs to possibly be used in the installation. Austin Cadina drew this cool jellyfish:

Austin Cadina's template for Allison Uttley's Mylar installation.

Allison, with the help of volunteers, used Austin’s great design to create this Mylar sculpture, which you can now see in the Art Studio, floating eerily with the other forms she has already created. Thanks for being part of the art Austin! If you want to be part of the artwork, come to the next Bank of Hawaii Sunday on Oct. 18.

Allison Uttley's sculpture made from Austin Cadina's design.

Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”