Maui News

Maui County Wins National Arts Grant

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Maui County has been selected to receive one of 60 Our Town awards from the National Endowment of the Arts to cultivate public art.

As the only awardee in the state, Maui County will receive $75,000 to support the planning and implementation of pilot arts programming in Wailuku Town over two years ending in June of 2020.


The project’s first year will include a call for visual and performing artists, with selection criteria aimed at quality, style, significance, permanence and portability.

In its second year, local and visiting artists will create public artwork in Wailuku, paired with talk story sessions, brown bag lunch events, public rehearsals, jam sessions and more, which invite the public to be a part of both the process and the product.


“We have been working with the Wailuku Town arts community for years to create a tangible way to integrate the arts into an economic revitalization plan. The timing finally came together, as a public funder came to the table to support the telling of Wailuku’s story through the arts,” said Erin Wade, Maui Redevelopment Planner who led the grant application process. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Wade, who has spearheaded the reWailuku planning movement and staffs Maui Redevelopment Agency, will direct the project, with nonprofit arts specialist Kelly McHugh as project coordinator.

“To be a part of Wailuku’s contribution to the national conversation around creative placemaking and its ability to advance and deepen community connections is literally a dream come true,” McHugh said.


Wailuku resident Awakea Lindsey, president of the Maui Historical Society and member of the Maui Redevelopment Agency, is focused on rooting the project’s creative process in Wailuku’s culture and history, while allowing the neighborhood to evolve into the next version of itself.

“Wailuku is Maui’s big town; and the heart of government and business,” Lindsey said. “I’m excited to use this as an opportunity to bring culture and art back into daily life. It is important for us to keep a balance between Wailuku’s legacy and its future.”

Titled “Small Town, Big Art” (following the 2012 reWailuku initiative, Small Town, Big Heart), the project will enhance relationships among Wailuku Town small businesses and community members throughout the Wailuku Civic Complex planning and design. It will also position public art as a catalyst for communicating Wailuku’s distinct identity in a way that can help stimulate its economy during the construction period.


NEA’s Our Town program is in its ninth year of funding and will distribute grants this round totaling $4.1 million to 60 awardees in 37 states. For a complete listing of projects receiving Our Town grant support, along with project descriptions and grants listed by state and type, visit the NEA website at

“Na Wai Eha” by Eric Okdeh. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

“Mural of Hope” by David MEGGS Hooke and Kamea Hadar. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

View of County Buildings. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

View of Market Street. PC: Bryan Berkowitz


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