hui no‘eau visual arts center: there’s always something happening at the hui!

hui_pezzillo_huinoeau-4No visit to Makawao would be complete without driving less than five minutes down Baldwin Avenue to the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, Maui’s only community-based education organization dedicated to providing programs that support lifelong learning in the arts. I discovered on a recent excursion that’s it’s a heck of a fun place to explore, and that there’s always something happening at “The Hui”!

Tour Historic Kaluanui Estate

The Hui is located at the historic Kaluanui Estate, which marks its 100th anniversary this year. The estate consists of an elegant two-story plantation-style mansion designed by famed architect C. W. Dickey and built in 1917; lush grounds showcasing more than 70 endemic and indigenous plants; the remains of one of Maui’s earliest sugar mills—East Maui Plantation—where centrifugal force was used to separate sugar crystals from molasses; and several outbuildings which house specialty art studios and provide accommodations for visiting artist instructors.

Visitors to Kaluanui can either sign up for a guided one-hour walking tour of the estate (Mondays & Wednesdays at 10am—$12), or purchase “Kaluanui: Plants at the Hui” ($6) for a self-guided tour. As an alternative, guests are welcome to simply meander around the estate, and take in the happenings that abound.

Those looking for a light bite to eat or a cuppa joe can fulfill their need at the Gypsy Maui food truck, which is on site near the property’s reflection pond Monday through Friday from 8am to noon (not always there right at 8am). Picnic-table seating is available on the grounds, and visitors are welcome to bring their own alfresco dining fare.

Take in an Art Exhibition

The Hui produces up to eight community art exhibitions every year, providing emerging and established artists an opportunity to show their work in a professional gallery space. Located inside the mansion, the gallery space is filled with natural light, and its clean, white walls are ideal for showcasing the latest works of art.

The Annual Juried Exhibition will be featured through February 16. With no theme, this prestigious exhibition challenges artists to submit their best work created within the past two years. Media include: ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, jewelry, digital media, fiber, wood, and mixed media. Juror Duncan Dempster is a Honolulu-based artist and educator working primarily in print media.

In what’s usually the Hui’s History Room is a special exhibition on display through March 31 entitled “Woman Makes the Malo Makes the Man.” Kapa artist Dalani Tanahy’s remarkable work plays off of the idea that “clothes makes the man,” reminding us that women made the traditional malo (men’s loincloth). This exceptionally talented artist even grows the wauke trees and dye plants needed to make and decorate kapa, and creates the tools to pound kapa and print it with her own natural dyes.

Attend a Class or Workshop

With hundreds of classes and workshops offered each year for aspiring artists of all ages and ability levels, there’s something to appeal to everyone’s area of interest. Some are even single-day events, making them perfect for visitors to participate in something unique and fun, and create a lasting Maui memory.

The Hui’s “Family Friday” workshops are held monthly, and are designed to encourage keiki and an adult guardian to create artwork together. The $25 per person fee includes pizza, water, art supplies, and instruction. Participants should bring any other preferred non-alcoholic beverage(s), and reusable silverware, plates, and cups.

Glass Blowing Demonstration

The heat is on at the Hui on Wednesdays when teaching artist Stephen Fellerman works his magic in the glassblowing studio. This dynamic craftsperson says he hopes to blow glass until his last breath!

There are two ways to participate in Stephen’s exciting craft. Visitors are welcome to stop by the glassblowing studio between 10am and 1pm to watch Stephen in action as he creates some truly amazing glassworks.

For a more hands-on experience, Stephen offers “BYOG: Blow Your Own Glass,” which is an opportunity for guests to experience the joy of creativity, while assisting Stephen in creating a glass object of their choice and design. Each participant makes one of several basic forms of their own choosing: ornament, paperweight, sea float, flower, small cup, or bowl. Participants choose the colors for their unique glass object, and even try their hand at some of the process. BYOG is offered Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Cost is $95 per person, and reservations are required.

Open Studios

The Hui’s Open Studios Program provides students and community artists the opportunity to work independently with access to professional artist studios, equipment, and tools. Visitors to the Hui can walk around the property, pop in to each studio, and observe and interact with artists and students honing their craft. There are open studios for ceramics, jewelry, photography, and printmaking.

The day I visited the Hui, I stopped by the jewelry studio where Roberta Ann Weisenburg—a jeweler since 1981, and a certified argentium instructor—and some of her students, all sporting swanky headband magnifiers, were creating gorgeous pieces of jewelry with metal clay: a unique type of clay made up of microscopic particles of real metal, water, and a binder. The clay is shaped with tools or even just the hands, and when it’s fired the water and binder burns away, leaving a piece of real silver or copper metal.

I also stopped by the ceramics studio where teaching artist Jobst Frohberg was busy at work at the potter’s wheel. Jobst began as a strictly functional potter, producing a whole range of utilitarian pots, then explored raku, and now works with white clay and more colorful glazes, always searching for that perfect glaze for that certain piece. Jobst showed me how he uses painter’s tape to separate the different glaze colors on his pots, and thin strips of another type of adhesive tape to create designs and patterns.

Adjacent to the ceramics studio are shelves filled with pottery for sale (the Hui’s “Ceramics Seconds Sale”) where you can purchase beautiful handmade pottery at bargain prices.

The Hui Gallery Shop

Back inside the mansion, I stepped inside the Hui’s gallery shop and discovered a treasure trove of delightful handmade items from over 75 local artisans, as well as unique museum-quality gifts. It’s the perfect place to find that special something for someone. All purchases help support the Hui and local artists, and many of the items have been made on site in the Hui’s jewelry, ceramics, printmaking, and glassblowing studios.

The Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center aims to ensure that access to the arts is a part of everyday life on Maui. Hui No‘eau loosely translates as “people coming together for a common purpose—for the development of artistic skill, and the wisdom that derives from that expression.” The Hui is a one-of-a-kind community gem that truly deserves our ongoing support.

–heidi pool




Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, offering art classes and workshops; tours of the historic estate; a fine art gallery and gallery shop; and open studios, where visitors can see artists in action.


2841 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao.


The Hui is open daily from 9am to 4pm. Admission is free. Fees apply for estate tours, classes, and workshops.


For more information please call 572-6560 or visit the website at or on facebook at





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