Maui Arts & Entertainment

Fostering community through art: Little Free Art Galleries kicked off in Makawao

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Little Free Art Galleries are being introduced in Makawao. To foster community through art, people can leave a work of art and take one away. PC: Maui Public Art Corps

Maui Public Art Corps is introducing Little Free Art Galleries in Makawao as a way to foster community through art. 

The project is in partnership with Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society and Maui County.

The galleries serve as miniature art hubs where artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to contribute their creations.


“The concept is simple yet powerful – leave a piece of artwork, take a piece of artwork,” according to an announcement. “It’s a delightful exchange that encourages artistic expression and community engagement.”

Kelly McHugh-White, chair of Maui Public Art Corps and manager of the Maui County’s public art program, explained: “The idea came about while designing community engagement activities surrounding our very first public art project for Makawao Town, which is a large-scale sculpture that will live on the front lawn of the Makawao Public Library for 90 days beginning mid-April.”

The project is being developed and created by sculptor Matthias Neumann. The sculpture is inspired by the story of Scott Fisher, director of ʻĀina Stewardship at Hawai’i Land Trust and Kim Thayer of Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership. They are alumni of Seabury Hall in Makawao.


“We put a call out for help building these tiny galleries, and Seabury Hall’s Bill Levien graciously came forward,” McHugh-White said. “With the help of 17 engineering students – who built the Little Free Art Galleries, we are now able to engage Makawao artists as we prepare for Matthias’ arrival, and well beyond the lifespan of the sculpture installation, through the exchange of tiny pieces of donated artworks.” 

Artists can submit their artwork either in person or by mail, making it accessible to all members of the community. Whether it’s a painting, sculpture, photograph or any other form of art, contributions are welcomed and celebrated.

On Saturday morning, Levien and McHugh-White set up the very first Little Free Art Gallery at 3620 Baldwin Ave. in Makawao, with permission of the property. They instantly drew a crowd of excited art enthusiasts. Currently stocked with donated works from UH Maui College Visual Arts Department’s Michael Takemoto and students, the tiny gallery will be restocked throughout the next month until it becomes self-sustaining.


The next Little Free Art Gallery will be unveiled at Makawao Public Library to prepare for the unveiling of the temporary sculpture installation on April 20, followed by a third Little Free Art Gallery in Wailuku Town. 

Participants are kindly reminded to adhere to the ethos of the Little Free Art Galleries – only take artwork if you’ve left something behind. This ensures a sustainable and equitable exchange of artistic expression.

For more information on how to participate or to locate the nearest gallery, visit the Maui Public Art Corps website here.


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