Mele Murals partners with UH Hilo

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669
Dir, Media Rel, University Relations
Posted: Mar 16, 2015

The Statewide youth empowerment and cultural preservation project Mele Murals has entered into its first university collaboration by partnering with various programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Mele Murals has teamed with the Office of the Chancellor Ho`okahua Project, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, and University Housing Kanilehua Living Learning Community to host campus paint parties following a series of workshops held last week with students to develop a design concept. The paint parties are being held this week at the Hale Kauanoe Residence Hall where participants are painting a mural on the back walls of the building facing the Hale Kehau Dining Room. The mural will be unveiled on Thursday, March 19. 

Mele Murals is a project of the non-profit Estria Foundation, which uses art to promote international social change. Creative Director Estria Miyashiro engages cultural advisors and students to honor the cultural heritage of place through art education and `aina (land)-based learning. His goal is to develop visual storytellers, to preserve Hawaiian values, increase cross-generation and cross island engagement, and share the mele (song) and stories that highlight important artistic, cultural, and historical themes with a global audience.

Over a five-year period, starting in late 2013, local artists, youth, and other members of communities spanning the eight major islands of Hawaiʻi have begun creating a series of large-scale outdoor murals focusing on Hawaiian lyrics that explore mo`olelo `aina (stories of place) and cultural and historical heritage.

“This is an exciting partnership for UH Hilo and provides a forum for our students to share their personal stories and express their ideas in a very public way,” said Gail Makuakane-Lundin, interim vice chancellor for student affairs. 

For more information on The Estria Foundation and Mele Murals, visit 

To learn more about the partnership with UH Hilo, visit