About the Artistic Teaching Partner

Artist Statement

During a Creative Writing residency, students gain the tools that they need to express themselves creatively in words.  Students write about their lives, articulate their thoughts, and give voice to their imagination.  Through sequential writing activities, students work collaboratively, practice creative problem solving, and delve into their imagination.  I foster a dynamic and compassionate learning space where students feel comfortable exploring and sharing their creative voice.  I encourage my students to encounter language with a sense of play and a willingness to think outside-the-box.  By the end of the residency, students will have written extensively, read and interpreted literary works, engaged in revision, and published their work.  Most importantly, students will have developed a sense of ownership and pride in their writing, which often leads to an increased sense of self-confidence.  I believe that each student has a fascinating and unique story to tell.  Create writing helps students feel like they have a voice and that this voice is heard.

Artist Biography

Laurel Nakanishi has taught creative writing to students in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Montana, and Florida over the past eight years.  During this time, she founded two writers-in-schools programs, collaborated with fifteen elementary schools, and wrote poetry curricula in both English and Spanish for elementary-aged students.  Born and raised on Oahu, Laurel is the author of the award-winning chapbook, Mānoa|Makai, and her writing has appeared in national magazines, such as OrionGulf Coast, Fourth Genre, Black Warrior Review, and the Montana Natural History Magazine, among others.  She has been fortunate to received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, Japan-US Friendship Commission/National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo, US embassy in Nicaragua, and Greta Wrolstad Foundation.  Laurel received her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and her MFA in creative non-fiction from Florida International University.


Children in a classroom raising their hands

About the Artistic Teaching Partner Roster

The Artistic Teaching Partners (ATP) Roster is an adjudicated directory of Hawai‘i professional teaching artists qualified to conduct in-depth residencies in educational settings. Each artist or arts organization has a page in the directory with contact information, a short bio, and an artist statement. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts draws from this roster for arts education programs including Art Bento at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum and Artists in the Schools.