Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center – Thriving arts and culture!
Over the past year (2021-2022), the foundation is fortunate to have had the opportunity to support the work of the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center (“the Center”) on Maui. Our support of the Center is closely aligned with two of the foundation’s focus areas: (1) Ensuring access to art for all and (2) Creating opportunities in school/education for children to experience the many benefits of participating in art and cultural activities and lessons.
We have appreciated how they persevered and continued to serve the community throughout the pandemic. The foundation believes that arts and culture are critical components of our ability to navigate challenges, have compassion for each other, and connect in ways that will help us move towards a reimagined and brighter future.
We received their program updates, and there were so many wonderful highlights we couldn’t keep them to ourselves! Here are a few of the key takeaways from 2021:
- They did not let the pandemic stop them from serving their community. Instead, they quickly pivoted, thought about how to continue to meet their mission safely, and then executed that plan. In 2021 they reached more people than pre-pandemic levels!
- They provided opportunities that encouraged creativity, learning, self-expression, emotional regulation, sharing of ideas, personal growth, connection to others, and all-important stress relief.
- The Center is the primary art center on Maui, where students of all ages may participate in painting, jewelry making, printmaking, drawing, mixed media, cultural arts, and more. Of all their youth programs run in 2021, the most popular was “Camp Kaluanui,” providing engaging art opportunities for children over school breaks and giving working parents a creative place to send their children. They made it accessible by offering scholarships where aid was needed. “Due to COVID, my daughter was feeling quite isolated, and I think absorbing the societal stress associated with COVID. I would pick her up after camp and saw she was relaxed and grounded. Art Camp was therapeutic for her, and she continued to ask for art supplies. I am truly grateful to the staff for bringing joy and calm into my daughter’s reality during a challenging time.” (Parent of child in Camp Kaluanui)
- The pivot to providing mobile arts education (virtual field trips paired with art activities, mobile art kits, online lessons, etc.) happened quickly and effectively. They pivoted as soon as they knew that art programs in schools would be among the first casualties of the economic downturn. They modified existing programs to serve even more youth, especially those in low-income and homeless communities. The partnership included 16 schools and community organizations. We agree with the Hui when they say “arts education is essential to the growth and development of healthy and engaged young citizens of our world.”
- They found a safe way to continue to offer Open Studio time to community artists. With COVID precautions in place across the state, with artists not otherwise having access to a place to create or further develop their skills, the Hui’s Open Studio was a blessing and provided a space for social-emotional connection and healing.
- We love the way many of their offerings are focused on helping to preserve and share Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge, artistry, and history. For example, their Malama Wao Akua Exhibition was a collaboration with the East Maui Watershed Partnership, and artists of all ages depicted the native species of Maui Nui, providing a creative way to educate the community about the importance of indigenous plants, animals, and environments.