Maui News

Mālamalama Maui Launches Campaign to Reimagine Central Valley

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Mālamalama Maui launched its final campaign, “36,000 Acres. 36,000 Hearts.” to engage 36,000 people—approximately one for every acre of the previous sugarcane lands—in sharing a message, vision and/or solution from their heart for the future of the Central Valley.

Each participant is encouraged to make a creative contribution in the form of their choice—writing, painting, photography, videography, dancing, music, prayer, etc.

Each heart shared will be a part of a collective community vision and creative art piece. Submissions received by Nov. 3, 2018, will also be formally shared with representatives of Alexander & Baldwin in December 2018.

Maui residents and visitors alike are welcome to share their heart online. Opportunities to share in-person are listed on Facebook.

“Our greatest solution will be found when we collaborate with one another—art and culture can create bridges in times of division,” said Lehua Simon, founder of Mālamalama Maui. “We will deliver the hearts shared by the community to Alexander & Baldwin not to demand that these wishes be granted, but as a heartfelt expression that corporation and community can come together, despite our differences, for the sake of our island home.”

Mālamalama Maui hearts. Courtesy photo.


For generations the Central Valley has grown and contributed to the current way of life on Maui. The Mālamalama Maui project offers a place for dialogue and brings awareness about the future of the central valley during the agricultural transition. The mission is to gather love for the Central Valley of Maui and to showcase this love in a collective art piece that symbolizes how the community cares about the future of Maui.

Since December 2016, Mālamalama Maui has partnered with over 24 local organizations such as Maui School Garden Network, Hawaii Farmers Union United and Hukilike No Maui, a coalition formed by the Sierra Club Maui Chapter.

“The Maui School Garden Network has benefitted from ArtPlace funding that Lehua was able to obtain to help our schools combine their ‘āina (garden) native planting knowledge with art,” said Lehn Huff, director of the Maui School Garden Network.

Mālamalama Maui Booth First Friday 10.05.18. Courtesy photo.

Students of all grade levels at Pomaika‘i Elementary wrote and recorded an original album called Songs for Change with the help of Grammy Award-winner John Cruz and Melinda Caroll, international songwriter and founder of When We Shine, a key partner throughout the Mālamalama Maui project.


“We have been able to strengthen the connections between people and agriculture by engaging people through their hearts and emotions rather than statistical information, graphs, and planning meetings,” said Rebecca Rhapsody, Mālamalama Maui project coordinator.

By creating spaces for art to happen socially, Rhapsody continued to witnessed how creative collaboration naturally engages listening and empathy, which forms deeper connections.

Malamalama Maui Project hearts. Courtesy image.

The two year project has supported partner organizations through micro-funding and opportunities to utilize artistic activities and cultural experiences to further their mission. Internal and external networks for the various organizations were able to grow attention, resources, and social capital for solutions that they offer during this agricultural transition.

“The project has been able to create new relationships and strengthen collaborations among organizations that are dedicated to a sustainable, and healthy food for all vision,” said Rhapsody. “These connections will continue to generate important contributions to our island long after Mālamalama Maui has ended.”


About Mālamalama Maui

Mālamalama Maui began December 2016 as a two-year creative placemaking initiative funded by ArtPlace, which uses the arts (such as film, media, music, food) and the cultural traditions of local community to embrace, educate and empower the people of Maui in imagining and advocating alternative agricultural uses for the central valley land in transition. For more information, go online


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