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Hawai‘i Volcanoes Launches New Artist-in-Residence Program

April 27, 2014

In conjunction with the National Parks Arts Foundation, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will launch its first Artist-in-Residence program in May. The debut artist will be Master of Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas.

Lei Kāmoe

Lei Kāmoe, by Rick San Nicolas.

The artist, whose bold and beautiful feather work is currently on display at the Volcano House, will provide an After Dark in the Park exhibit and discussion about his artwork on Tues., May 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Admission is free, but park entrance fees apply.

The Artist-in-Residence program continues the legacy of the famous volcano-inspired artists, and provides a creative setting in the park, said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.


The mahiole is a feathered helmet that chiefs would wear into battle. Photo courtesy of Rick San Nicolas.

San Nicolas grew up in Hawai‘i, and is founder of the George Na‘ope Hula Festival. He was recently bestowed with the title of Ke Kumu Hulu Nui, “Master of Hawaiian Featherwork of Old Hawai‘i” by another celebrated cultural icon, kumu hula Kaha‘i Topolinski. Aunty Doreen Henderson, Hawai‘i’s famous kumu of lei hulu, has also honored San Nicolas with the title of Master Featherworker.

“We are thrilled to offer Rick the mutually beneficial opportunity to cultivate his creativity in the remarkable setting of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The arts are an integral way to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and its deep connection to this sacred landscape,” she said.

The non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation developed the Artist-in-Residence program as a way for artists to be inspired and appreciate the fascinating past – and present – of our national parks, while giving back to the National Park Service. The NPAF programs are proposed for 15 locations in national parks and World Heritage Sites in the U.S. For information, visit the NPAF website.

Hat bands afeather

Feathered hat bands, by Rick San Nicolas.

Liloa's sash

12-foot feathered sash of Liloa, by Rick San Nicolas.

Rick San Nicolas (left) poses with Uncle George Na‘ope.

Rick San Nicolas (left) poses with Uncle George Na‘ope.

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