Not only can visitors to Hawaii behold a beautiful waterfall, they
can paint it in the company of accomplished local artists. Or they
can take a photo of one of the islands’ majestic volcanoes or
canyons, then learn how to create an artsy print of it.
Making art may not be considered your typical island activity,
but local art centers actively encourage the hands-on participation
of guests in their arts programs, making for a fun and rewarding
addition to the usual tourist fare.
The Hui No’ea Visual Arts Center on Maui recently began
promoting “a day of art” for visitors through resort concierges.
The half- and full-day classes include raku ceramic firing,
watercolor painting, glass fusing and holiday wreath making. For
non-members, the four-hour courses cost $42 and the six-hour
courses cost $60.
The center will also cater to requests for group instruction. It
recently arranged a half-day silk painting class for 20 women in a
wedding party from New Jersey.
“A lot of visitors want to take part in the local art
community,” said Linda Doyle, the center’s program manager.
Its location in the scenic upcountry town of Makawao provides an
additional draw. Visitors can tour the grounds of the former sugar
plantation mansion and estate, attend free lectures by local and
visiting artists, view year-round gallery exhibitions and access
the open studios for jewelry-making, printmaking, photography,
drawing, woodworking and ceramics.
In West Maui, the Art School at Kapalua is similarly housed in a
historic plantation building. The school also has an open-air
facility for large events.
The art school offers children’s classes every day of the year
except Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and Thanksgiving. Instruction
includes creating art with glass, “Lego-mania,” introduction to
jewelry, hand building with clay and digital photography. The Keiki
Day Camp for ages 5-10 and the Adventure 7 Camp for ages 11-16 cost
$60 for a full-day, six-hour session or $30 for a half-day,
Adults can select among painting courses in the fine arts studio
or sculpting and pottery instruction in the ceramics studio.
One-day workshops may feature coconut painting, while visiting
artist workshops cover subjects like painting tropical fruit or
waves in watercolor.
“We are the number-one spot for rainy days,” said Molly
McMillen, the executive director, pointing out that weather can be
volatile in the Kapalua region.
The Art School at Kapalua is well equipped to manage corporate
events as well. Events for spouses left on their own during
meetings have included art lectures and lessons. The school
regularly provides courses at the Kapalua Bay Hotel and the
Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and can facilitate a course anywhere on the
island. Class sizes depend on what is being taught.
Watercolor instruction can accommodate 50 to 75 people, for
The Kauai Outdoor Painting Association organizes several
workshops throughout the year and brings in accomplished plein-air
(outdoor) artists from elsewhere. The four- to five-day workshops
are limited to 15 people and are attended by people from around the
world. The one-day attendance fee is $125.
Two unique resources for visitors on the Big Island are the
Donkey Mill Arts Center, a former coffee mill owned by the Kona
Coffee Cooperative farmers, and the Volcano Art Center. Both sites
sponsor exhibitions and workshops.
The Donkey Mill Arts Center recently hosted a lunch and
papermaking session for a group traveling from the Smithsonian. Its
regular programs feature Japanese woodblock printing, Chinese brush
painting, basketry and clay raku.
A studio pass for $15 allows visitors to spend a day creating
ceramics, printmaking or paper making with some initial instruction
provided. Weekend workshops range from around $90 to $125 with a
free lecture given by the instructor on Fridays before the
workshops. During the school year, children can attend an art class
on all mediums from 2 to 5 p.m.
Visitors can also stop in at seven art galleries located in the
town center of Holualoa just minutes away.
Nestled 4,000 feet up the active Kilauea volcano, the Volcano
Art Center offers a mix of arts and craft classes specializing in
glass and woodworking. Farther up at the summit of Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park, the art center’s gallery represents the work of more
than 250 artists, the majority from Hawaii.
The center can customize programs, including transportation and
catering, if desired, for groups of all ages.
“We do it quite often, for family reunions, school groups and
alumni,” noted Marilyn Nicholson, executive director.
“We can also take a program to them” in the Volcano region, she
added, or offer tours of visual artists’ studios in the area.
Whether Hawaii visitors find inspiration from ancient lava beds,
sugarcane fields or any of the other beautiful island settings,
next trip recommend that your clients pursue their artistic
inclinations a local art center.