Arts education is essential to break down socio-economic and cultural barriers1. Our vision is to establish West Hawaiʻi as a model of a resilient2, thriving community where art is considered a necessity3, not a luxury.
How does art break down barriers?
Art is a universal language beyond words through which we find connection and ask deeper questions of ourselves, each other, and our world. Arts education develops the survival skills of creative problem-solving, empathy, flexibility, and collaboration. It empowers individuals and communities to face modern day challenges united by our shared humanity, strength and hope for future generations.
What exactly is community resilience?
We define community resilience as a measure of our region’s capacity to equitably care for individual and collective well-being in facing present day challenges, past trauma and future survival. It is nurtured through the acknowledgment of differences, strengths, weaknesses and fueled by common ground. Our historic building was created by a group of coffee farmers united by a sense of stewardship and aloha. It’s through these concepts, that the Donkey Mill was built and continues to flourish.
What makes Arts and Culture a necessity?
Arts and culture connect us in deeper and more meaningful ways, beyond words to the very core of understanding who we are, individually and collectively.
At the Mill we are going for systemic change beyond providing arts curriculum and teaching artists in area schools.
- We provide professional development for teaching artists and classroom teachers to address the shortage of qualified teachers;
- We are on the SFCA Artistic Teaching Partners Roster and provide mentoring opportunities for teaching artists statewide;
- We are one of five partners with ARTS FIRST, a network of organizations whose mission is to provide high-quality arts education for every student in Hawaiʻi.
We have evidence to show that we’re on the right path.
The Donkey Mill Art Center is a place of convergence4 for the exploration of arts and culture to inform, inspire and strengthen individual and collective well-being5.
What is a place of convergence?
The Mill is both a community and a physical place–celebrating the power of the arts, bringing people, ideas and perspectives together. We seek to share the diverse cultural perspectives of our island home through our programming and holding space to connect hearts and minds.
How does the Mill’s programming strengthen individual and collective well-being?
We are proud to offer adult and youth programs that focus on awareness of one’s individuality in the contexts of family, community and the natural world. Growing awareness, internally and externally, helps to develop empathy, a sense of belonging and acceptance of others.
What conditions are making it possible for discrimination to occur? Social isolation, fear, lack of curiosity and educational opportunities, lack of safe spaces to explore and be open, to see new perspectives and receive new information are all factors. In order to make systemic change, we are focused on eliminating these barriers through arts education programming. We are a place where novices rub elbows with experienced artists and intergenerational connection is a core value. We are all lifelong learners, individually and as a community bravely facing a world of evolving challenges with empathy and joy.
We are part of a deeply rooted community that has strengthened over time thanks to close relationships, connection and respect for our island environment and history. Our story starts with a shared vision of why arts and culture matter.
Board & Staff
Board of Directors
Natasha Ala, President
Eric Ziemelis, Vice President
Doug Hickey, Treasurer
Schel Leatherman, Secretary
Interim Executive Director
Youth & Fibers Program Coordinator
Ceramic Studio Coordinator
Donor Relations Manager
Guest Services Associate
GET IN TOUCH
The Donkey Mill Art Center welcomes your questions and comments.
For general inquiries please contact us at:
Mahalo to Our Community
We measure much of our success by the strength of our community and partnerships.
June & Bruce Dowad
Stephen B. Drogin
First Hawaiian Foundation
Anne & Roger Forbes
Priscilla & James Growney
Cassandra & Paul Hazen
Marcy & Robert Katz
Marlene & William Louchheim
Suzanne & Carl Merner
Setsuko & Hiroki Morinoue
Cheryl & Mark Richards
Lisen & Desmond Twigg-Smith
Sharon & Thurston Twigg-Smith
Full Life Hawai‘i
Hōlualoa Elementary School
West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center