County of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Friends of Hawaii Charities Award Needed Funds to Volcano Art Center

Rain showers are nothing new for the Big Island’s Volcano Village, but for one local nonprofit, fresh grant funding has been pouring in along with all the wet weather. Volcano Art Center (VAC) has recently been awarded three new grants to expand their education, outreach and forest restoration programs.

Hawaii County has just approved VAC’s request to create a Hawaii Island Network of Artists (HINA) economic impact report and website, awarding $21,250 to help fund the undertaking. Particularly strong in arts administration, including sales, education and promotion, VAC is already positioned to research, promote, perpetuate and document the expanding community of artists throughout Hawaii County.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) states in their 2008 report, Artists in the Workforce, that the State of Hawaii ranks #3 per capita of the 50 states with fine artists and craftspeople. According to their report, nearly 15 of every 10,000 residents is an artist.

“Given our involvement with this community, we are certain Hawaii Island has far more than 270 visual and fine artists,” reported VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian. “Our research will provide the County and State with the documentation they need to promote Hawaii as an arts destination, directly benefit local artists and enhance our island economy.”

Hawaii’s state tourism agency, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), awarded VAC with a $35,527 grant to continue the Volcano Rain Forest Restoration and Education project that has been active since 2006. The funding enables VAC to serve as stewards of the Niaulani Rain Forest, a 5.5 acre old-growth native forest in Volcano Village that makes up most of the land on which the organization houses its administrative campus.

Preserving the forest for future generations requires VAC to assume the unending responsibility of controlling about 30 non-native plants. They have smartly involved community volunteers in ongoing restoration efforts and service learning opportunities, and offer free guided tours on Mondays and Saturdays to bring even more awareness to this rare Hawaiian treasure.

VAC will soon be offering a Youth Media Arts program thanks to another grant of $5,000 awarded by Friends of Hawaii Charities. Funds will be used to purchase equipment for an open Media Arts Lab, and to provide classes, courses and workshops in digital photography, storyboarding, storytelling, camera and film basics, and filmmaking. Intended for youth ages 5 to 19, technical aspects of photography and video production will be taught with an emphasis on how media enhances education, awareness and community.

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii through the arts and education.

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