This Fall, the Donkey Mill is excited to host a Young Artist Residency Program for eight to ten young artists who will have the opportunity to work directly with Seattle-based artist, Michelle Kumata. Participants will embark on an artistic journey exploring their identities, family lore and heritage by learning basic oral history interview skills. Students will use the stories gathered from their elders to inspire their artworks and build their portfolios. Young artists will be working directly with Michelle Kumata who will offer guidance and direction in the Mill’s Print Studio. The student’s residency will culminate in artist presentations, shared stories and reception at the Donkey Mill Art Center with family, friends and community partners.

Important Dates

  • Application Open: Friday, April 19
  • EXTENDED DATE: Application Due: Friday, May 31 at 5:00pm HST
  • Online Orientation: Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 - 11:30am HST
  • Summer Online Workshops: Tentatively August 24 and September 14 from 10:00 - 11:30am HST
  • Fall Break Program: Tuesday - Friday, October 8 - 11 from 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Program Hōʻike: Friday, October 11 from 2:30 - 4:00pm


  • Artists must be between the ages of 13 and 18
  • Participants should have a strong interest in the visual arts
  • Participants have taken at least one art class at school (or the equivalent)
  • Artists must participate in an Online Orientation, 2 online sessions, be able to attend each day of the program from October 8 - 11 and present work at a group reflection on October 11.

What will participants gain through this Young Artist Residency Program?

  • The opportunity to build their artistic portfolio and create artworks with guidance of a professional artist
  • A deeper understanding of their identity, heritage and family history
  • Experience learning new creative tools to express self (visual arts, written, oral)
  • The chance to explore innovative ways of using art as a tool for storytelling
  • Artists will have the opportunity to collaborate, build relationships and make new friends
  • Young artists will develop communication and time management skills
  • All art supplies, tools, materials, and lunch will be provided at no cost to participants!
  • Participants from West Hawaiʻi schools (Kealakehe HS, Konawaena HS, WHEA and Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino) may be able to earn school credit* (requires approval by school administrators)

About the Artist
Michelle Kumata
is an artist and Seattle native with a BFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts in New York, New York. She worked as a graphic artist at The Seattle Times for over a decade and has also served as Exhibit Director at Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience for 12 years, where she worked with community members to bring their stories to life through compelling exhibitions.

Michelle’s work has been shown at Frye Art Museum, Center on Contemporary Art, Bumbershoot, Nordstrom and The Society of Illustrators Museum, New York, NY.

I feel like I’ve been going through this process of thinking about what it means to be a Japanese American and how or why we even have to say what it is, because it’s different for everybody. There’s not one way to be Japanese American. Why do People of Color have to explain themselves? To make other people feel more comfortable, I guess. This really just adds more pressure on us to try defining something that is always changing. - Michelle Kumata


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