Pa’i Foundation Receives $150,000 Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

Media Release:

PA‘I FOUNDATION, whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations, has received a $150,000 “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the development of plans for a Traditional Hawaiian Cultural Center and related programming that showcases and supports contemporary Native Hawaiian visual artists and traditional cultural practitioners.  The cultural center will include classroom space, performance space for hula, music and other traditional practices, and live/work spaces for artists and their families.  The project is a partnership with “Artspace,” a national developer of creative art spaces and affordable housing for artists.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman announced the grant winners earlier today in Washington, D.C.  PA‘I Foundation is one of 51 inaugural “Our Town” Grant recipients, and the only one from Hawai‘i.  In total, over $6.5 million are being invested into communities around the country to support the arts as part of a community revitalization strategy.  The grants range from $25,000 to $250,000.

“We are extremely thrilled and proud to be among the first recipients of the Our Town Grant,” said Vicky Holt Takamine, PA‘I Foundation Executive Director and Kumu Hula.  “We would like to say ‘Mahalo Nui’ to the National Endowment for the Arts, our partners at ‘Artspace,’ and Mayor Peter Carlisle for providing a letter of support which was critical to our selection.  We will use these grant funds to support the development of Ola Ka ‘Ilima (Creative Art Spaces).”

NEA created the “Our Town” Grants because art works to improve the lives of America’s citizens in many ways.  Communities across our nation are using smart design and leveraging the arts to create livable, sustainable neighborhoods with enhanced quality of life, increased creative activity, distinct identities, a sense of place, and vibrant local economies.  The NEA defines these efforts as Creative Placemaking.

“Our Town” is the NEA’s latest investment in “Creative Placemaking,” through which partners from both public and private sectors come together to shape the social, physical, and economic character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities.

“Our Town” invests in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, are looking to increase their livability, and specifically are seeking to:

  • Improve their quality of life.
  • Encourage creative activity.
  • Create community identity and a sense of place.
  • Revitalize local economies.

The Hawai‘i project, developed by Artspace in partnership with PA‘I Foundation, will include a cultural market survey to assess the size and specific uses of the project.  It is anticipated that there will be about 40 units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families at the center. The site for the center has not been selected, as yet.

“We’re delighted to see the PA‘I Foundation receive this award from the NEA,” said Rebecca Driscoll, Artspace Board Chair. “The Our Town program is further evidence of the strong national leadership of the NEA in making creative placemaking a reality in communities all across America.”

For a complete list of “Our Town” Grant recipients, please go to

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government.  To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.  The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.  For more information, please visit

PA‘I Foundation, organized in 2001, is a 501 c 3 organization whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations.  The goal of PA‘I Foundation is to establish a cultural center on O’ahu to better serve the broader Hawaiian community.  PA‘I Foundation is the non-profit organization of Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, a halau hula founded by Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine in 1977.  While the organization is centered around and supported by halau members, the purpose of PA‘I Foundation is not centered around servicing the needs of the halau, but to address and serve the needs of Native Hawaiians and those who make Hawai’i their home.  For more information, please visit

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