VOLCANO, HI (HawaiiNewsNow) -The 32nd Annual Volcano Village Artists Hui Studio Tour and Sale took place at the Volcano Garden Arts Center in Volcano Village.
This yearly event is the first big art showcase since the eruption started in May.
"All the artists here are very excited and of course all the businesses are also. The vacation rentals, the bed and breakfast, the restaurants are all very excited for this event," said Ira Ono, Volcano Garden Arts Center director.
“This is my third time on the Big Island. I absolutely love it here,” said Laura Lee Connery from Vancouver, Canada.
Artwork from 12 full time artists and more than 100 artisans with various crafts and projects is up for sale.
"We've been saving them all year just for this very weekend," said Ono.
He says things were bleak during the lava disaster. With the park closed, business was down 60 percent. He laid off two employees, cut hours, and watched other businesses in Volcano Village fold. He hoped his art center wouldn’t be next and worried he’d have to find a ‘real job.’
"I really had to think of what the next move would be. It was very abstract and kind of disturbing," said Ono.
With the eruption in a lull and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park open, business is trickling back, but hasn’t returned to pre-disaster levels.
"I don't know if the word is out nationally, let alone internationally that we are actually open for business so business is kind of slow actually," said Ono.
He hopes with winter on the mainland setting in, more visitors will flock to the Big Island and check out the sights at Volcano Village.
The art studio tour and sale continues Saturday and Sunday.