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Artist in the School

MAC News Release

The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) Artists in the Schools (AITS) provides grants to schools to bring in qualified, trained teaching artists from the Artistic Teaching Partners (ATP) Roster. The residency is designed to provide engaging, creative, and fun learning experiences based on the Fine Arts standards for all grade levels. Many of these teaching artists integrate their art form with other core curriculum areas, such as language arts, math, social studies, science, meeting both fine arts and other core standards.

This year, Kualapu’u Conversion Charter School was privileged to have poet Laurel Nakanishi work with 5, and Papa 6 classes. Laurel has taught creative writing to students in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Montana, and Florida over the past eight years.  Born and raised on Oahu, Laurel is the author of the award-winning chapbook, Mānoa|Makai, and her writing has appeared in national magazines, such as Orion, Gulf Coast, Fourth Genre, Black Warrior Review, and the Montana Natural History Magazine, among others.  She has received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, Japan-US Friendship Commission/National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo, U.S. embassy in Nicaragua, and Greta Wrolstad Foundation.  Laurel received her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and her MFA in creative non-fiction from Florida International University.

 The AITS residency culminated in Molokai Storytellers, an event co-sponsored by Kualapu’u School, SFCA AITS and Molokai Arts Center. All students attending opened with an oli to welcome everyone. Fifth grader Makana Rosa proficiently served as host for the evening. Avonlea Takashima and Caroline Kaholoaʻa for Sophie Sanchez-LinKee-Espaniola (Ms. Eileen Carr’s fourth graders); fifth graders Makana Rosa and Sophia Coombs (Mrs. Kimberly Link’s fifth graders); Kauluwai Yamashita and Po’ohiwi Helm (Kumu Loke Han’s Papa 6) shared stories which were published in three paperback books. The audience was also treated to kupuna and makua storytellers born and raised on Molokai – Ōpūʻulani Albino, Penny Martin, Kalani Han, and MAC’s ED Alice Cabael Kaahanui. They shared mo’oelo about the history of place names, the sights and sounds of our island’s past, and the traditions that continue to this day.

Families and guests enjoyed a chicken hekka dinner (by Mike’s Catering), music by Pili Pa’a (George Aiwohi, Justin Avelino, and Joshua Adachi) and were invited to have their books autographed by the keiki artists.


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