Art is Life-Life is Art: Donkey Mill Art Center

Hōlualoa Elementary School 5th graders celebrate after a fun day of art classes at Donkey Mill Art Center. photo courtesy of DMAC

Hōlualoa Elementary School 5th graders celebrate after a fun day of art classes at Donkey Mill Art Center. photo courtesy of DMAC

Donkey Mill Art Center is the home of Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture, a 501(c)3 nonprofit art education organization. Its mission is to provide a stimulating environment that helps individuals discover, develop and expand their artistic abilities. In 2016 alone, the Mill served over 1,000 keiki (children) and teens, provided more than $8,000 in scholarships to young students, and held 94 classes and workshops for adults. Exhibits and events hosted by the Mill provide opportunities to learn and grow for all visitors, and are open to the public year-round. DMAC is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10am to 6:30pm.

Then and Now

Click the cover to see this story in our digital magazine.

Click the cover to see this story in our digital magazine.

In 1994, Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture (HFAC) was established by a handful of individuals who wanted to give their community a place where artists could gather to work, share ideas, and exhibit their creations. With just $700 and newly secured nonprofit status, they began offering weekend classes for adults and children as the board of directors searched for a home.

In 2001, with a gift from Lisen and Desmond Twigg-Smith and a successful fundraising campaign, HFAC was able to purchase the historic Donkey Mill, built by Kona’s first coffee farming cooperative. The name comes from when manager, George Harada, perched a silhouette of a donkey on the roof when the coffee mill opened in 1954. It wasn’t long before it was known as “The Donkey Mill”.

Hard-working volunteers put in countless hours to create a workshop, classroom, and exhibition space out of the old coffee mill while preserving its rustic character. In the fall of 2002, HFAC moved into its new home, the Donkey Mill Art Center (DMAC). Since then, volunteers have continued to add studio space, a small retail shop, the children’s garden, and the kitchen that’s become the heart of every gathering at the Mill. Adding to this, Cassandra and Paul Hazen graciously donated the land adjacent to the Mill in 2005, providing additional financial security and a resource for future growth.

10th Annual Art Auction opening blessing and performance at BMW of Hawaii. photo courtesy of DMAC

10th Annual Art Auction opening blessing and performance at BMW of Hawaii. photo courtesy of DMAC

On campus and off, the needs of the local community and the contributions of visiting artists from around the world have expanded the Mill’s programs. The Youth Program has grown beyond the walls of the Mill, bringing continuous art education into the classrooms at several local elementary public schools.

More recent collaborations with nonprofit organizations, such as West Hawai’i Community Health Center, Full Life Hawai‘i, and Abled Hawai‘i Artists (AHA) characterize the evolution of DMAC’s involvement—and art’s important role—in the life of our local community.

New classes in youth, teen, and family programming; printmaking; fiber arts; metal works; photography; and professional development have attracted more people than ever, necessitating a restructuring of the organization, modernizing its systems, and concentrating on efficiency, capacity building, and sustainability.

How the Mill is Funded

The Donkey Mill Art Center has always relied on the generosity of donations from the community to fund its programming and everything else. This year they will be featuring their 11th Annual Art Auction, to be held at BMW of Hawaii on Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 5 to 8pm.

This thoughtfully curated auction provides a rare opportunity for art enthusiasts and patrons to access a wide range of highly desirable work by renowned artists while enjoying a celebratory evening in a beautiful upscale venue.

Bidders gather for the 10th Annual Art Auction at BMW of Hawaii. photo courtesy of DMAC

Bidders gather for the 10th Annual Art Auction at BMW of Hawaii. photo courtesy of DMAC

The Annual Art Auction draws contributions from local and national artists united in a desire to support the beloved community art center and its work to provide rich art experiences and opportunities for the people of West Hawai‘i and visitors alike. Thoughtfully selected pieces by more than 50 renowned artists will be represented in this year’s silent and live auctions in an effort to raise critical resources for the organization.

Among the highly anticipated works available at this year’s auction will be pieces by painter Lynn Capell, fine art prints by Bud Shark Ink, ceramicist David Kuraoka, ceramicist Richard Notkin, printmaker and painter Mayumi Oda, and ceramicist Esther Shimazu. A complete digital catalog will be made available to ticketholders in advance of the event, and patrons who are unable to attend may opt to bid remotely. Tickets are available online at the Millʻs website (donkeymillartcenter.org/).

Proceeds from the event will enable the Donkey Mill Art Center to continue providing youth and adult art programs, community events, and art experiences for all throughout our community. Many thanks to BMW for sponsoring this annual event. ❖


For more information, contact: info@donkeymillartcenter.org

Mahalo BMW of Hawaii – Art Story Sponsor

Comments are closed.