The Arts News

The Arts at Mid-Pacific


Posted on August 8, 2016 by Scot Allen

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Mid-Pacific celebrated 25 years of the Mid-Pacific School of the Arts during the 2015-2016 school year. At the helm of the School of the Arts for many of those years was Linda Johnson. Please enjoy the video interview (below) with Ms. Johnson, conducted by KITV's Nicole Carvalho, a 1995 Mid-Pacific Graduate.

Mahalo to faculty, students, parents, alumni and patrons of the arts at Mid-Pacific who made the celebration so successful. We look forward to another wonderful year in the arts!

The program started with dance and theater; today students can also study digital media, hula, visual art, music and musical theater. The School of the Arts opened in 1991, fulfilling the school's long-standing commitment to arts education. A member of the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools, it was among the first six schools in the nation to be recognized by the organization as a Network Star School. Among its many notable accomplishments, the School of the Arts has earned the Arts Excellence Award from the Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education.


Please click here to watch the KITV interview.

By the time Linda Johnson arrived at Mid-Pacific in 1989, the Board of Trustees had approved starting a School of the Arts, but the proposal had been sitting dormant for five years. Johnson, who had arrived from teaching at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and before that in New York and London, was ready to take action.

Ms. Johnson, Theater Program Head and former Director of the School of the Arts, understands action well; it is a word that dovetails well with her background as a dancer and her chosen profession as an actor, director and educator. In the seventies, she started a dance academy in Cleveland; in the eighties, she moved into a master's degree program at New York University and trained professionally under Uta Hagen at the Herbert Berghof Studio. She then came to Mid-Pacific and helped to start Mid-Pacific School of the Arts. Since then, she has won multiple Po'okela Awards for acting and directing and has been recognized locally and nationally for her excellence in teaching and for her numerous contributions to arts education in general.

Today's School of the Arts Director, R. Kevin Doyle, recognizes the significance of the arts having moved into the core curriculum. "When we changed from an after school program to a day program," he says, "it elevated the importance of art. It wasn't just an after school activity; it was part of your curriculum."