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Arts foundation leader resigns in flap over misuse of photo

  • COURTESY TOM HAAR2013 November 20 CTY - The Francis Haar photograph entitled "'Iolani Luahine at Halemaumau, 1968". Courtesy Tom Haar
    COURTESY TOM HAAR
    2013 November 20 CTY - The Francis Haar photograph entitled "'Iolani Luahine at Halemaumau, 1968". Courtesy Tom Haar

The executive director of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has opted to resign following the group’s recent, admitted misuse of a photo of a Hawaiian icon, according to the foundation chairwoman.

Eva Laird Smith informed the board commission during its executive session Wednesday that she would resign effective Dec. 31, according to commission Chairwoman Barbara Saromines-Ganne.  

The board did not ask Laird Smith to resign, Saromines-Ganne said.

However, the move came after the commission’s impassioned, emotionally charged public meeting Wednesday regarding the foundation’s improper use of a photo of revered Hawaiian hula kumu ‘Iolani Luahine to plug Hawai’I Fashion Month and to sell coffee mugs, T-shirts, tote bags and other merchandise.

Saromines-Ganne said the board intended to investigate the incident, which left many local artists deeply concerned and many in the native Hawaiian community outraged.

Saromines-Ganne added that she hoped that Laird Smith’s resignation would help the foundation to regain the confidence of many in the local artist and native Hawaiian circles.

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