The Donkey Mill Art Center is a community art center serving West Hawaii residents and visitors at our facility in Holualoa. We also provide art education and experiences in local schools, and throughout our community.
We offer classes, workshops, and events for artists of all levels, and present world-class art and culture exhibits year round. Our gift shop provides local artists with a venue to sell their work, and enables art lovers to support the work of local makers.
Open Hours: We currently have limited hours to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. Current open hours are: Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 6:00pm and is subject to change.
We welcome visitors! Stop by at any time during our open hours and view our current exhibit, observe classes and open studios in progress, and experience our creative haven in Holualoa.
Holidays & Closures: The Mill closes seasonally for maintenance, deep cleaning, and reorganizing. During this time we are not open to the public, though some classes may be held during the closure.
Arts education is essential to break down socio-economic and cultural barriers. The Donkey Mill Art Center is committed to establishing West Hawaiʻi as a model of a resilient, thriving community where art is considered a necessity, not a luxury.
The Donkey Mill Art Center is a place of convergence for the exploration of arts and culture to inform, inspire and strengthen individual and collective well-being.
Creative problem solving
DMAC’s Youth Program sparks kids’ imaginations and gives them a chance to explore their creativity through our Summer, Spring, and Fall Intersessions; our After School program; and Family Art classes on weekends.
At the Mill, our integrated approach to the arts includes drawing, music, painting, culture, stop animation, ceramics, poetry, printmaking, and storytelling. Children build confidence in many different ways, learning to better express themselves and work with others.
Off-campus, the generous support of our donors and sponsors helps DMAC deliver the arts into local public schools at Holualoa, Ehunuikaimalino, and Kahakai Elementary throughout the year.
The Mill offers a broad array of classes, demonstrations, workshops, presentations, and exhibitions by local and visiting teaching artists across several disciplines:
Hawaiian Craft + Culture
In 1994, Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture (HFAC) was established by a handful of individuals who wanted to give their community a place where artists could gather to work, share ideas, and exhibit. With just $700 and newly-secured 501(c)3 status, they began offering weekend classes for adults and children as the board of directors searched for a home.
In 2001, with a gift from Lisen and Desmond Twigg-Smith and a successful fundraising campaign, HFAC was able to purchase the historic Donkey Mill,* built by Kona’s first farming cooperative. Hard-working volunteers put in countless hours to create a workshop, classroom, and exhibition space out of the old coffee mill while preserving its rustic character.
In the fall of 2002, HFAC moved into its new home, the Donkey Mill Art Center (DMAC). Since then, volunteers have continued to add studio space, a small retail shop, the children’s garden, and the kitchen that’s become the heart of every gathering at the Mill. Adding to this, Cassandra and Paul Hazen graciously donated the land adjacent to the Mill in 2005, providing additional financial security and a resource for future growth.
On-campus and off, the needs of the local community and the contributions of visiting artists from around the world have expanded the Mill’s programs. The Youth Program has grown beyond the walls of the Mill, bringing continuous art education into the classrooms at several local elementary public schools.
More recent collaborations with non-profit organizations, such as West Hawai’i Community Health Center, Full Life Hawai’i, and Abled Hawai’i Artists (AHA) characterize the evolution of DMAC’s involvement—and art’s important role—in the life of our local community.
New classes in youth, teen, and family programming; printmaking; fiber arts; metal works; photography; and professional development have attracted more people than ever, necessitating a restructuring of the organization, modernizing its systems, and concentrating on efficiency, capacity building, and sustainability.
While such growth is less immediately visible than that enabled with hammers and nails, it’s no less demanding—or rewarding. Just as the practice of art develops self-awareness, compassion, and creativity, it makes Donkey Mill more effective in the community we serve.
Mahalo to all whose vision and generosity makes this work possible!
*Manager, George Harada, perched a silhouette of a donkey on the roof when the coffee mill opened in 1954. It wasn’t long before it was known as “The Donkey Mill.”
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
Online Registration FAQ
How do I register for a class?
Online registration is available now for adult and youth classes! Check out our Online Registration Guide for step-by-step directions.
I’m not able to register online, how do I sign up?
If you are having difficulties registering, or prefer not to sign up online, you can call our front desk at 808-322-3362 to register or stop by the Donkey Mill and sign up in person while enjoying our current exhibit. We are open Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
I want to register for a class and don’t have login credentials, how do I get them?
If you have never logged in, but have a relationship with the Donkey Mill, (as a member, donor, or student within the past two years) You already have an account, and can use the Recover Account option at the bottom of the login prompt by entering the email address associated with your account and hitting the “Recover Account” button. You will receive an email that will guide you to set a password, then continue with registration. If you are new to the Donkey Mill, you can create your login credentials the first time you register for a class or event.
How do I access member rate tuition?
If you are a current member, sign in using the login credentials you created when you registered, and your account will automatically recognize your membership and show you member rate tuition. Select the Recover Account option at registration if you have forgotten your password. If you are not yet a member, sign up for a membership to receive member rate tuition.
I want to register, but cannot pay right away, what should I do?
If you would like to be added to the interest list for a class, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-322-3362. Payment of tuition is required to register and reserve a spot in the class.
How do I request a refund/cancel my registration?
Please email us at email@example.com and let us know the reason for your cancellation. See our refund policy below for details.
Did my registration go through?
You should receive an email confirmation as soon as you register. Check your spam folder, or the promotions folder if using gmail. If you don’t see a confirmation, feel free to contact us at 808-322-3362 to check, and we can assist you with registration.
Why is advance registration required?
Classes fill quickly, and we suggest you sign up more than a week before the start date of the class in order to secure your spot, give the instructor time to prepare, and to ensure that the class runs. You may register and pay for classes up until the first day of class, but spaces for last-minute registration are not guaranteed and classes may be cancelled if enrollment minimums are not met a week before the start date.
What is your refund policy for classes and events?
If you are unable to attend a class, and cancel more than seven days before the first class session, you will receive a full refund. Cancellations made less than seven days before class begins will result in a refund of DMAC gift certificate minus an administrative fee of $20. No Call/No Shows are not eligible for cash refunds or DMAC credit.
Donkey Mill Art Center FAQ
What is membership, and why should I sign up?
Memberships are a vital source of revenue that supports our Free Entry for Everyone policy, and enables us to welcome everyone at the Donkey Mill. Membership keeps art supplies stocked, instructors administering free art projects to children, lights shining on our local art, space for people of all ages to creatively express themselves and so much more. Without support by simple means of a membership, our day to day operations would not be possible. Members receive benefits including discounted tuition, and more, see our membership page for details.
What are Open Studios, and who can use them?
Open Studio is an opportunity to continue learning at your own pace, using specialized equipment and tools available at the Mill.
To attend an open studio session, you must be a DMAC member who has attended a class in the medium. Currently enrolled students in Print and Ceramics receive complimentary open studio time for the duration of their class. When not enrolled in a class, students may purchase open studio passes for $15 per day or $65 for a five-session pass.
Do I need to become a member to attend a class or event?
Our classes and events are open to everyone. Members do receive discounted tuition along with other benefits, and by becoming a member you are choosing to support the Mill and encourage art within our community as well as in your own life.
I have art, tools, furniture, or supplies that I would like to donate, how do I do that?
Thank you for thinking of us! Please put together a list of the items you would like to donate, and send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will let you know if we are able to accept your donation and put it to good use. If not, we have a list of other local organizations that may be interested.
How do I sell my art in the Donkey Mill Gallery Shop?
Retail opportunities will vary depending on the season, but we are always interested in new offerings made by local artists. Send us an email at email@example.com to learn more about our consignment process and policies.
How do I teach at the Donkey Mill?
Teaching opportunities will vary depending on the season, but we are always interested collaborating with new teaching artists. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how to get involved.