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$30,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Maui’s Hui Moʻolelo program : Maui Now


The County of Maui announced that it has been awarded a prestigious Grants for Arts Projects Award in the amount of $30,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant will support the County’s Hui Mo’olelo program, a collaborative initiative in partnership with Maui Public Art Corps and Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society.

Through Hui Mo‘olelo (“gathering of stories”), a cohort of storytellers is trained through a series of free, community workshops. Upon completion, participants are paired with kūpuna to generate a site-specific story that is audio-recorded. The audio excerpts become the basis for annual requests for artist proposals by professional artists, in which they interpret a recording as a work of public art in collaboration with community members. Proposals are selected by a community panel, followed by an intensive learning and cultural exchange that is rooted in specific places throughout Maui County.

The Hui Mo’olelo program has been recognized for its outstanding contribution to the local community, stemming from past NEA grant projects that include Wailuku’s SMALL TOWN * BIG ART initiative and the County of Maui Public Art Master Plan.

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Mayor Richard Bissen expressed gratitude, stating, “This National Endowment for the Arts grant is a testament to the dedication and creativity of our community, as well as the generosity shown by our kūpuna to share precious memories and knowledge about Maui County places, customs, natural resources and events. It will empower us to continue fostering and preserving a unique and vibrant cultural landscape through the Hui Mo’olelo program.”

“We are profoundly thankful for the National Endowment for the Arts’ recognition and support. This grant enables us to celebrate the generosity and courage of those who have graciously shared ancestral knowledge through the Hui Mo’olelo program. Their wisdom creates a legacy that resonates across generations.” said Maui Public Art Corps Chair Kelly McHugh-White, “It further acknowledges our communal, successful track record of arts-based programming, emphasizing its role in building community, strengthening economic impact, and preserving local narratives and cultural heritage.”

Sissy Lake-Farm, Executive Director of Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society said, “We are so grateful to the County of Maui and the NEA for working with us to ensure that the rich tapestry of Maui history is recorded and passed down to future generations, fostering a profound sense of identity and belonging.”

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To date, 30 Hui Mo’olelo recordings have been produced over three years of trainings through the teachings of Leilehua Yuen, as well as best practices from a range of storytelling and oral history experts.

Of the 76 public art projects produced through this collective to date, the most recent 23 have been based on Hui Mo’olelo intergenerational recordings.

Artistic disciplines have included contemporary dance, theater, mele, mural art, short film animation, lightwork, sculpture and more. Projects have been created in collaboration with 200+ partners and 96 community consultants, each linked at mauipublicart.org/art.  

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The County of Maui is committed to utilizing this award to bolster cultural growth and foster a sense of pride in the community’s shared heritage, and looks forward to the positive impact it will have on our residents and the generations to come.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news. To access the current Hui Mo’olelo program request-for-proposals, visit mauipublicart.org/apply.

Source: Maui News

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