During one recent stop by the Nui No’eau Visual Center campus on a sunny afternoon, I found a group of children on the lawn holding brightly colored parachutes in a big circles. They were observing how they were caught the wind and making shapes with the fabric. It was a giant, colorful living sculpture that giggled its way across the lawn before disbanding, after which the kids headed down to a printmaking studio for more artistic moments.
In the summer, the serene grounds of Hui transform into an art school campus packed with kids as young as five, and 200-plus wild imaginations buzzing around, fueled by art supplies and studio time. This incredible convergence of creative minds on Maui happens with a purpose: Camp Kaluanui and the older youth programs seek to harness the power of the arts to improve the Maui community.
“Arts education helps young people perceive and think in new ways,” says Kelly McHugh, director of Youth Programs at the Hui. “[It] provides a form of nonverbal communication that can strengthen the presentation of ideas and emotions, develops intuition, sensitivity, reasoning, imagination and dexterity–plus skills in critical thinking, language and cooperative learning that enables them to recognize new solutions. Our camp programs provide the tools, mentors and space to spark the creativity of Maui’s young artists.”
The Hui keeps class sizes small at their camps to keep one on one interaction a priority. The kids also get to experience quite a bit of the grounds on the historic Kaluanui estate. Camp drop off and sign in starts at 8:30 to 9am. Once settled, the kids get down to their creative business–namely, morning workshops in ceramics, painting, found object art and sculpture. Later it’s outside time, a picnic lunch on the hui lawn and exercise activities. In the afternoon, the students trek off to a new art studio where they might try jewelry making, mural making, theater and creative movement, printmaking and everything in between.
The Hui supplies plenty of equipment and tools to inspire, equipment that some schools might not be able to offer in their art programs. The teachers also switch off, exposing the kids to lots of different art disciplines and approaches. Materials include metals, wire, found objects created by Mother Nature on the grounds, canvas, posterboard, clay, acrylic, tempra, watercolor, pencil and ink.
These busy hands and minds have the opportunity for exposure to a huge array of diverse mediums in that week using the professional spaces that the Hui has available. At the end of the week, each student brings home a certificate endorsing their newly learned knowledge of art.
This year’s summer art camps are themed each week. There’s “On the Wild Side: To the Deepest Depths of your Imagination,” “WWPD (What Would Picasso Do?): Learning from the Masters,” ” Radical Rainforest: An Adventure in Cryptozoology,” “Spirited Away, Magical Masks, Dragons, and More!,” “Weird Science: The Art of Invention,” “What Lies Beneath: Uncovering the Underwater Universe” and “Jammin til the Jam is Through, Art Inspired by Music.”
There are also scholarships available for the Camp Kaluanui, with applications online at huinoeau.com. McHugh says about a quarter of the students receive tuition assistance.
“As a nonprofit, we rely on charitable contributions to ensure our programs and services are accessible to the largest possible audience,” says McHugh. “With the support of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, donors through our annual Art Affair benefit, membership dues and other donations, we are able to offer need-based scholarships to children whose families cannot afford tuition.”
To register, go to huinoeau.com or call 808-572-6560.