Our Program

This program provides mandatory Arts Education for all students in grades 1-5, four and a half days a week, running from 8 – 2pm in six to eight 30-45 minute sessions. Classes are divided by individual grade levels.

Each day of the week is dedicated to one of the four core disciplines; Drama (Monday), Visual Arts (Tuesday for Lower Elementary and Wednesday for Upper Elementary), Dance (Thursday), and Music (Friday).

Utilizing five Teaching Artists who excel in each discipline, as well as a part-time Instructional Assistant, we implement a common core Art curriculum designed to cater to each grade level.

This program follows the public school calendar running from August through May and is the only formal Art Education available to children in Hana / East Maui.

Our History

With a history of providing Arts Education to the Elementary school children in Hana for several years, our graduates now fill the Middle School.

There is a strong interest in continuing Arts Education for this age group so, to meet this demand, Hana Arts is expanding our program to provide two core courses for credit to Middle School.

Hiring a local professional photojournalist, we have partnered with Hana Public Library to host Creative Writing courses, where the students focus on creating a magazine or script about their specific passion. Utilizing creative thinking, research, composition, and multi-media design techniques, the final products are then laminated, bound, and placed into circulation at the Library.

We also recognize the need for Arts instruction for early childhood education. Our Preschool/Kindergarten program consists of a Music and Creative Movement course held by a local Hawaiiana instructor. Serving three classes, our instructor leads weekly explorations in rhythm, time, composition, and expression through voice, percussion, and movement. Lili M. Levinowitz, Professor of Music Education at Rowan University, wrote:

“Making music is as much a basic life skill as walking or talking. Peery and Peery (1987) suggest that it is desirable for children to be exposed to, trained in, And enculturated with music for its own sake. That is, it is a birthright for all people to be able to sing in tune and march to a beat (Levinowitz and Guilmartin, 1989, 1992, 1996). To ensure a comprehensive learning experience, music must be included in early childhood. Practically speaking, the argument that music education is a frill finds no objective support.” (

Goals & Objectives

Research shows that Art Education is closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools. According to recent research by Americans for the Arts and Vans Custom Culture, published in their 2013 Arts Education Navigator – Facts & Figures:

In a study of high-poverty schools in Chicago, the schools that participated in the “Arts Partnerships Education Program” made huge strides in closing the gap between high and low income students’ academic achievements.

Students with four years of Arts education averaged almost 100 points better on their SAT scores than students taking only one-half year or less of Arts studies.

Our Arts program is intended to provide a vehicle for healthy self-expression, where the students are able to use critical thinking in various forms to identify who they are and understand their importance.

Academy Instructors

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Phyllis Castro

- Drama Instructor - Phyllis has many years of performing arts experience, and has been an active volunteer with Hana Arts Theater.

Phyllis has owned her own costume design business, and has taken numerous courses in dramatic expression. As a creative writer Phyllis is an award winning spoken word poet.
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Hilo Ohtakagi

- Visual Arts Instructor - Hilo has had a passion for painting from an early age. She graduated from the College of Osaka University of Arts and Design in Japan, with one of her artworks becoming an acquisition for the University\'s art collection. She has joined many private, public and commercial mural projects as a painter including Disney and Universal Studios and was involved in mural workshops for kids, that led her to became a part of the crew of the 50th Anniversary of Independence of Indonesia Commemoration Mural Projectat the University of IKIP and STKW in Surabaya, East Jawa from Osaka prefectural government.

After traveling extensively to Europe and Southeast Asia, she had several painting shows that were inspired by her travels. Hilo moved to Oahu in 2002 and worked on various artwork for media positions, like airbrushing surfboards, shop façade murals, and the backdrops for Diamond Head Theatre. She came to Hana last year, and continued working on graphic design and fabric design for her pareo line PLUMERIA SUN as well as her real passion to work on a painting! Artist Statement — “My paintings are the expression of my admiration for the beauty of our mother earth’s creations, and I want to convey the energy of peace and aloha which I feel from nature through my art to the viewer”
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Yu Vazques

- Music Instructor - Having studied music from both academic and independent approaches, Yu is well versed in multiple instruments from string family, percussion, brass and woodwinds. He volunteered in many childhood learning programs across different cultures and he seeks to share his long time passion of the language of music with our Hana keiki diversifying personal resources available for expression and communication.
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Amy Chang

- Music Instructor - Amy started learning piano and singing from a young age. She went on to study Jazz Theory, Ensemble Arrangement, Piano, Vocals, Music Writing and Performance Skills to receive her degree form Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Amy furthered her music teaching skills by attending, Kid Pan Alley-Paul Reisler-Songwriting Internship at Volcano Charter School, Big Island, where she studied in-classroom composition for grades K-8. Amy has years of experience teaching ages 6-8, 15-17, and adults in various multi-cultural expressive music and arts.
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Griffin Davis

- Visual Arts Instructor - Griffin Studied at Virginia Commonwealth University, and attended Savannah College of Art and Design.

Griffin has a bachelor's degree in fine arts with a focus on film and photography.

Academy Calendar

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