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Kate Enoka of The Brightside Gallery

Kate and I met back stage doing mics for our kids play; basically how all best chance meetings happen. I love not knowing ‘who people are’ until after I get to know them. There's something refreshing about having a clean first impression separate from what we are typically known for. Kate is one of those ‘good to the core’ people. Its so natural to fall into conversation with her and she has this chill style about her that puts you at ease. And then . . . .well then you realize what a badass she is and you like her even more! Learning more about her story made me realize that she is the most authentic version of herself in this journey of being a gallery owner. It parallels other pursuits in her life of shared adventure and a commitment to the endurance it requires to accomplish big dreams. Such a good launch into 2020 as we begin a new decade where anything is possible.


Describe your first experience with "art", was an instant spark of knowing that there was value there or did it grow over time? My grandmother was an amazing artist as well as a talented singer and actress (she was in the show Route 66!). She was always painting and her extensive collection included not only her own art but works collected from her travels all over the world. She was spunky and eccentric and maybe a little bit crazy. Looking back now, my appreciation for her introduction to art, culture and her unique perspective has continued to grow for me over time.  What was life like pre- brightside? So many layers of that life but I’ll stick with right before The Bright Side came to be I was working a very demanding job and pulled in many directions. I hung in there for a long time because it was “the right thing to do”. It was a respectable position with a good steady paycheck and lots of great benefits which is hard to find here on island. I was grateful for the opportunity and I learned a lot but ultimately at the end of the day I was not happy. It was cutting into my family time and I never paddled, surfed or did any of the things I loved to do any more. I was super stressed out and it was jeopardizing my health and my well-being.


What moment flipped the switch to launching this endeavor? It literally was like a light went on and there was no turning it off. I was at my wits end with my current employment and I just simply was not living the life I wanted. My husband and I had always talked about wanting to open a small gallery space and what it would look like. I woke up one night and it was a eureka moment. It was time. I was going to open our gallery and do it on my terms. I was over giving the best of myself for someone else's dream. I remember saying “I would rather try and fail than to always wished and wondered”. I had a little money saved and a whole lot of passion, vision and support from my husband. It was time to take the leap.

What have your challenges taught you while running this business? Resilience. And trust me, I am still learning it everyday. Running a business can be a roller coaster ride but that I am capable and so much stronger and scrappier than I ever gave myself credit for.

What do you love most? About the business... My favorite part is curating the collection because it truly is just an extension of what inspires me. Also, when people make a connection to a piece of art that I know from experience can change a life. What do I love in general?... My family, paddling, surfing and spending time in Koke’e. :) What is it about paddling that draws you in? I love paddling. Being in the ocean and doing long distance point to point runs is my favorite... you find a place of stillness inside and it becomes something of a meditation but you are also super tuned into the elements, surfing and connecting swells and using them to get from point A to point B as quick as possible. It’s SO fun! I use paddling as a constant analogy for every aspect of my life, especially since owning a business. You can’t fight the current, you have to go with the flow, the ups and downs, the lull between swells, finding the small bumps in between to get you there and the mental strength it takes to power through when things get tough. The ocean is powerful and humbling at times but then will gift you with the best day of your life and experiences that will make you a better person every day.


What has surprised you along the way? How once you let go of the fear and have faith in the process, how many things can finally be allowed into your life. Also, how supportive my community is. It is very humbling. Currently reading? or listening to? Favorite Quote? Favorite Song? Reading… "Thinking Body Dancing Mind" by Chungliang Al Huang. This is always on my nightstand and I literally have loved it to death.


Listening to… Ocean Paddlers Podcast interview with waterwoman Andrea Moller, anything with Brene Brown always and when I need it “Bodhisattva Mind” by Pema Chodron


Favorite quote… Currently it is “Lead with faith not fear” which a very smart friend said to me not long ago and it has been my mantra lately. My other favorite I heard once was “you get lost in the woods enough times you learn all the trails”. That's basically the story of my life.


Favorite Song…  The one that stands out right now  is “glorious” by Macklemore. I love the words and when the lady chimes in and talks about “I got a chance to start again, I was born for this how could I forget… I made it through the darkest part of the night and now I see the sunrise”. I love that part! Rings so true.

What are you curious about exploring through your business (or in your business)?  How a brick and mortar gallery space can continue to be relevant in our evolving online modern world. I think the answer lies in building more community connection and conversation within the space. Enjoying art on a screen is great I guess since it provides broad range exposure for artists and galleries but the in person experience of letting the art touch you has so much value in our lives. I want to find more ways to bring people and art together. Still exploring this and how it will manifest moving forward.  What is a favorite artist or piece of yours and why?  Almost all of the art I have has been gifts from artist friends so I love each and every one because of the connection. BUT I suppose the piece I cherish most is a small still life that my grandmother painted and made a killer frame for. I have it hanging in my daughters room. I love that piece. OH and I have a big beautiful Steven Valiere original which my husband and I purchased when we really had no business buying art with a baby on the way and not much money but it was our first art purchase ever together and we love it more and more everyday... I’m so glad we did it.


Do you create art? I do not. I think that’s why I appreciate art and value artists all the more. What are you looking forward to in 2020?  So many good things to come, I don’t know what they all are yet but can just feel it! My goal for 2020 is to start doing more events in the gallery. The space is beautiful and has so much history and it just radiates with good vibes from all the beautiful art. The Bright Side Gallery has always felt like our third child in that it has its own little energy and personality and I can definitely feel a growth spurt coming on. Can’t wait to see what’s next.


To be inspired and perhaps begin your own art collection stop by Kates gallery in Hanapepe. Or start small and pop over to her IG to follow the art and events

that are happening in her space.

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