$75,000 NEA grant awarded to develop public art in Wailuku

Maui was the only county in Hawaii to garner an award

Maui County was selected for a $75,000 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant to cultivate public art in Wailuku.

The county received one of 60 grants, the only county in Hawaii to garner an award, the county announced. The grant runs through June 30, 2020.

The money comes as the town received private funds for a telling of Wailuku’s story through arts, said Erin Wade, Maui Redevelopment Agency planner, who led the grant application process.

“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,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Titled “Small Town, Big Art” (following the 2012 reWailuku initiative, “Small Town, Big Heart”), the project is expected to enhance relationships between Wailuku small businesses and residents throughout the proposed $80 million Wailuku Civic Complex planning and design process, the news release said. It also should stimulate the town economy during the construction period.

Working closely with Maui Historical Society, 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.

“Wailuku is Maui’s big town and the heart of government and business,” said Awakea Lindsey, a Wailuku resident, president of the Maui Historical Society and member of the Maui Redevelopment Agency. “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.”

NEA’s Our Town program is in its ninth year and will distribute grants this round totaling $4.1 million to 60 awardees in 37 states.

For more information, contact Wade at 270-5517.