Folk & Traditional Arts

photo of a drummer and large drum.

Taiko Drummer Kendo Endo


The Folk & Traditional Arts Program was created in 1983 to: identify and document the diverse ethnic, cultural and occupational folk traditions in Hawai‘i; assist in the perpetuation of folk and cultural traditions in Hawai‘i; and promote public awareness of the beauty and value of folk and traditional arts in Hawai‘i and the importance of preserving Hawai‘i’s folk and traditional arts heritage.



Ka Hana Kapa, a documentary on the history of kapa in Hawai‘i, was recently produced
with funding by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Click here for information
about the film: Ka Hana Kapa.


Folk & Traditional Arts Grants

Apprenticeship Grants are to help masterful and accomplished teachers of the traditional arts (teaching artists) share their knowledge in a deep and meaningful way with the experienced individuals who they feel are best equipped to carry on the tradition. These grants are open to practitioners of any traditional art form or cultural practice in any culture in Hawai`i. The teaching artist and apprentice must apply together as a team.

The Apprenticeship Grants application is closed. Sample guidelines and forms are here for information only.

Application Forms

Culture Learning Grants

The Culture Learning Grant is for eligible organizations in the state. The purpose is to:

  • Encourage leadership and education in culture and traditional arts by furthering learning and understanding of folk and traditional arts,
  • Increase access by making funding available statewide and encouraging neighbor island participation,
  • Increase access by making funding available to cultural communities with low participation in other HSFCA grants programs, and
  • Provide arts education in the folk and traditional arts for children and youth and/or families from these cultural communities.

Organizations must have at least one year of experience in programs in which children and/or families learn through hands-on experience about their own culture’s artistic traditions (e.g. song and music, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts).

The Culture Learning Grants application is closed. Sample guidelines and forms are here for information only.

Application Forms

Special Projects & Community Partnerships

Past project initiatives undertaken by the Folk & Traditional Arts Program include exhibitions (Na Paniolo o Hawai‘i; Traditions We Share), touring presentations (Living Heritage Series; Slack Key Outreach), festivals (Restaging of the Smithsonian’s Hawai‘i Folklife Festival; Traditions We Share), audio and video recordings (Musics of Hawai‘i; Na Mele Paniolo; Pacific Visions), and publications (Musics of Hawai‘i; Our Arts, Our Land). To view the online version of Our Arts, Our Land, which features text both in English and Hawaiian, click here for Our Arts, Our Lands.

Current project initiatives include Hawai‘i Masterpieces: Ka Hana Kapa featuring the work of Hawaii’s kapa makers (with the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation and the Biographical Research Center) and the documentation of the Lyon Arboretum Hale Halawai construction (with the National Organization for Traditional Artists Exchange and the Lyon Arboretum).

Community Partnerships for Native Hawaiian special projects have included: American Masterpieces-Hawai‘i presenting and touring (Hawaiian choral music with the Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus; the music of Kahauanu Lake and hula of Maiki Aiu Lake with the Hawai‘i Arts Ensemble and Halau Hula Ka No‘eau); the work of Kent Ghirard with the Hula Preservation Society; Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Halauaola 2009 on O‘ahu; and Kahekili presenting and touring with the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.


For more information about the Folk & Traditional Arts Grants, contact Denise Miyahana, Arts Program Specialist, via email at or call (808) 586-0771.

Related Links

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
American Folklore Society
Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities
The National Network for Folk Arts in Education
Native Arts & Culture Foundation
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage