Community Events & Briefs

Volcano Art Center announces a very special event from 1-3 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 13) to honor the life, art and legacy of Dietrich Varez, who died Aug. 14 in Hilo.

The public is invited to attend a casual gathering to bid aloha to the man who carved a deep appreciation and understanding of Hawaiian values and lifestyle through his art and writings. Varez was a husband, father, friend, artist and author.

Varez is best known for his extensive collection of linoleum-block and screen printed images, of which more than 250 have been published. Each image would begin with reading and research. A particularly colorful or visual passage in a legend was often the stimulus.

Based on oral traditions, some of the images produced by Varez can be viewed as the first visualizations of these myths and legends.

Shunning publicity and working in simple fashion, Varez shaped his strong personal expression of Hawaii. By nature a quiet and private man, he lived with his wife, Linda (also a noted painter), in a remote rain forest setting near Volcano. Several miles of poor roads preserved the tranquility and privacy required for his prolific collection of block prints, original paintings and books to be created.

The subject matter in most of Varez’s work is inspired by traditional Hawaiian legends, integrating mythological figures into scenes with flora and fauna typical of the diverse Hawaiian environment. He boldly outlines the adventures and passions of his Hawaiian cast of characters in his direct and unmistakable style.

Varez was greatly influenced by the early printmakers of Japan and shared their belief that art is for the people. For more than 40 years, he produced new print images year after year, personally printed each image by hand, refused to number his prints and maintained extremely affordable prices.

In Varez’s own words: “I’ve made many fans and friends abiding by this philosophy of availability. Prints make it possible to bring art into the life of almost everyone.”

He reluctantly retired from his printmaking process in 2016.

His print images continue to be offered as fine art giclee reproductions at affordable pricing through the Varez Legacy Program offered by the Volcano Art Center. The Legacy Program also offers a beginning printmaking class every Monday at VAC, using linoleum blocks hand-carved by Varez.

The books he illustrated and authored also are still available at the VAC Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Petroglyph Press in Hilo. Varez’s work will be recognized for years to come — his is spirit will live on through his works.

Volcano Art Center encourages all those touched by Varez’s story as told through his prints, paintings, books and illustrations to attend the celebration event in Dietrich Varez Hall at VAC’s Ni‘aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Refreshments will be provided.

VAC will be collecting condolences and sentiments of appreciation to share with the Varez ohana. Monetary donations for the Varez Legacy Program as well as live plants for the Varez homestead also will be accepted.

For more information, contact Emily C. Weiss at 967-8222 or

A series of social media workshops will be offered in January and February in Hilo to help Big Island small business owners maximize their social media presence in the new year.

Classes offered during the 2019 Winter Social Media Boot Camp series are taught by award-winning social media instructor Denise Laitinen, owner of DLC Hawaii Media. The workshops cover a wide range of social media topics, including how to create a social media plan, tips on writing blog posts, how to make a social media planning calendar and much more.

Providing useful insights and knowledge, participants will learn how to create an overall social media strategy, write engaging social media posts and blogs and, perhaps most importantly, save hours of time a week on social media.

Classes start Jan. 25 and are every Friday through Feb. 15. Each class costs $45 and all classes will be at the Hawaii Innovation Center, located at 117 Keawe St. in Hilo. Each class is from 9-11 a.m.

Participants can discover what each class will entail and register for each separately online at

“Today’s consumers want to connect with the businesses they frequent on a more personal level,” Laitinen says. “Each business or entrepreneur I work with has a wonderful story to tell their audience.”

“Many times, business owners don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing their business online or how to blog,” she adds. “They get stymied over what to post or go about it the wrong way and wind up frustrated with ineffective results. Many are also unaware that there are free and easy tools they can use that will free up hours of their time a week when it comes to managing social media for their business.”

Participants leave the classes with actionable steps they can use to streamline their online presence and use social media effectively and efficiently.

“I really enjoy helping other small business owners, and it’s so fulfilling to see them succeed on social media platforms,” Laitinen says.

For more information, email or call 281-3497.

Su Lin Kennels LLC recently was honored as one of 15 finalists in Hawaii for its commitment to ethics, integrity and building trust among its staff, customers and throughout their community by the Better Business Bureau 2018 Torch Awards.

Su Lin Kennels has been in business in Hilo since 1997. It offers professional dog grooming and pet sitting services to pet owners in and around Hilo. Amy Wong is the owner and a member of the National Dog Groomers Association, the Orchid Island Dog Fanciers Club, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an A+ member of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau.

Wong also has been named Best Groomer in the Best of East Hawaii Readers Choice Awards and was the recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award representing the pet care and grooming industry in Who’s Who of America.

“I love what I do, and it is simple to give my best because my clients are the best! I love them all,” Wong says.

She loves Hilo town and thinks it is “the right thing to do” to give back to the community, offering donations to many nonprofit organizations, including Hawaii Care Choices, The Food Basket, Special Olympics of Hawaii, Aloha Ilio Rescue, Rainbow Friends, Hawaii Island Humane Society and others.

Su Lin Kennels is located at 1342 A Kilauea Ave. For more information about the services Wong and her business offer, call 934-0881.


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