Hawaii's Remarkable Woman: Kumu Hula Vicky Holt-Takamine
The latest apartment building to go up in town is a new concept for Hawaii: Artspace provides affordable housing for island artists.
"I was really excited about the idea of artists living together in affordable housing because we could collaborate and learn from each other," Takamine said.
For Vicky Holt-Takamine a driving force behind the decade long effort to make this building a reality, art is not just a picture you hang on the wall.
"Art is what makes a community a community," Takamine said.
Along with providing artists a place to live, including enough room to work on their craft, she wants this center to help craft an arts corridor throughout Kaka'ako.
"I hope the artists will partner with us at events and activities at Thomas Square, the Blaisdell, Gateway Park, artists can serve the community," Holt-Takamine said.
Artspace isn't the only project Takamine has been working on she is also an organizer of the Pacific Festival of Arts and more than a dozen years ago helped take art to the fashion runway.
"I saw the needs of our community and I can't sit back and watch so I created MAMO, to showcase the diversity of Native Hawaiian arts," Holt-Takamine said.
The wearable art show has helped boost Hawaii designers' fashions into the spotlight and has been a launching pad for several successful brands and businesses.
But her background originally had her taking to the stage for a different kind of art.
"I started hula at the age of 12, I became a kumu hula in 1975 and opened my own halau in 1977, so more than 40 years of hula, I've been teaching hula," Holt-Takamine said.
Now this kumu hula wants to carry on the legacy of the kupuna who came before her.
"I think my whole life's work has been how to do, give back to this land and that has nourished me all these years," Holt-Takamine said.
Along with being an artist, as a kumu hula she has become ana activist to reclaim cultural practices.
She has been outspoken over Native Hawaiian issues telling people not to complain about problems, but instead take action.
"We've been raising the next generation of Native Hawaiians to be activists, to be aware of what is going on and to do something about it," Holt-Takamine said.
As head of a Pacific-wide arts festival, leader of a Native Hawaiian art foundation, along with being a kumu hula it seemed like nothing could slow Vicky Holt-Takamine down.
But two years ago, everything came to a sudden stop.
Her husband died in 2016 and her father a year later.
When it came to the breast cancer in her body, Takamine took action getting a double mastectomy.
This allowed her to get back to work helping others, but also reminded her to take time for herself and her family.
"We need to learn to take care of ourselves first, as women we don't do that," Holt-Takamine said.
For her tireless efforts to expand Native Hawaiian arts and artists, Takamine is this month's remarkable woman.
An honor she says she could not have done without the many remarkable women she has had in her life.
"I built my reputation on the women that have helped to nurture me, and I owe them all credit for who I am today," Holt-Takamine said.