Calling All Hawaii Island Visual Artists

Your participation is requested for Volcano Art Center’s “Hawaii Island Network of Artists”

Volcano, HI – Volcano Art Center (VAC) is sending out an open call to all Hawaii Island painters, photographers, woodworkers, ceramicists, glass blowers, blacksmiths, jewelers, fiber artists, kapa makers, weavers, mixed media artists and sculptors-fine artists and craftspeople who make all or part of their living by selling their island-inspired creations-to join a new collective known as the “Hawaii Island Network of Artists” or HINA.

“We need your help,” says Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, Project Manager for the HINA research report and website conceived by VAC. With funding in part from Hawaii County totaling $21,250, VAC is embarking on a year-long research project designed to spotlight all the visual artists who call Hawaii Island home and validate their profound economic impact.

DeEtte Shafto acknowledges that while all of the Hawaiian Islands are rich with professional artists, the exact number has never been accurately documented the way the HINA project aims to do.

“Several years ago, when I read the 2006 report ‘Artists in the Workforce’ from the National Endowment for the Arts, stating that Hawaii ranks #3 per capita of the 50 states with fine artists and craftspeople, it was a beautiful affirmation,” says DeEtte Shafto. “According to that report, nearly 15 of every 10,000 residents is a self-proclaimed artist. Given our intimate involvement with the artist community, we believe that Hawaii Island has far more than the estimated 270 visual artists. I am grateful to VAC for having the vision for this unprecedented endeavor that will directly benefit our creative community.”

The HINA project goals:

  1. To create and deliver a comprehensive report documenting the rich diversity of Hawaii Island visual artists and the economic impact of this creative workforce. The arts are strongly supported by tourism, yet Hawaii is overlooked as an arts destination. By showing the strength of our artist community, VAC can increase awareness for the economic contributions of artists and generate vital statistics that the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) need in order to focus marketing efforts on the arts. Visitors are seeking meaningful experiences and are interested in buying locally made products-Hawaii Island artists create both of these.
  2. To create a website showcasing the people who create artwork for a living-individuals who drive an overlooked sector of the economy-so that they can continue to generate prosperity for themselves and their communities. By shining a spotlight on this creative power and supporting these unique creators of culture and revenue, VAC hopes to nurture the creativity inspired by the Aloha spirit.
  3. To educate the public about the value and significance of artists and makers, both traditional and contemporary, working in the mediums of clay, fiber (including kapa and lahala), glass, metal, mixed media and wood, as well as drawing, painting and photography.
  4. To help preserve the art of making by documenting those who make their living following their creative passions. The arts are how cultures are remembered and by documenting today’s artists, VAC will create a resource for the historians of tomorrow.
  5. To assist in marketing Hawaii Island as a place of creative inspiration where we can reawaken our innate connection to land and sea-the very things that inspire so many of our talented artists.

How it will work:

Beginning in September at Volcano Art Center, monthly community meetings will be held in one of the nine County districts. These meetings create an opportunity to come together, discuss the goals of this project and share information. You will be asked to complete a survey and provide images of your work along with 150 words about the source of your inspiration. Artists who are unable to attend the meetings can download the survey online. The survey information will be compiled district by district with results being shared and publicized each month as the project progresses. Bios and photos of work will be uploaded to the new HINA website each month, creating a central directory of island artists with links to your websites. Best of all, participation is free.

Want to help?

  • Vote for HINA! A crucial grant of $5,000 is at stake through GOOD Maker’s Help Your Community Come Alive Through the Arts Challenge. Between Thursday, August 9 at 9:00am through Thursday, August 23 at 9:00am (HST), take a minute to visit and vote for HINA!
  • Get social! Search “Hawaii Island Network of Artists” on Facebook, like our page and join our group.
  • Spread the word! Please share this opportunity with your artist friends. We want everyone to participate and be featured on the new HINA website. (Did we mention it’s free?)
  • Recommend meeting sites! This project is all about you and we are happy to entertain suggestions for meeting locations that would be convenient and accessible for you.
  • Share your talents! Photography artists are asked to volunteer to help document our meetings to share on the website, through social media and for upcoming press releases.
  • Pound some pavement! Are you willing to help post flyers throughout your community? Contact us!

“VAC is honored to provide the opportunity for visitors and residents to relate personally with Hawaii’s artists and their work,” says VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian.

Apart from being one of the grandest undertakings since it was founded in 1974, the acronym HINA has a special second meaning for the staff at VAC. Hina, the Hawaiian Goddess of Hilo and a kapa maker, is a source of innovation and unification.

“Our goal is to honor our connection to the culture and history of this island through the inspiration it provides to today’s makers,” says Aynessazian. “HINA will no doubt propel our mission to the next level.”

To learn more about Volcano Art Center and the HINA project or to download the survey and sign up for updates, please visit our website and see our progress at For even more in-depth information, contact Volcano Art Center at (808) 967-8222 or

Comments are closed.