About the Artistic Teaching Partner

Artist Statement

The Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Senior Teaching team have decades of experience in classrooms, MACC CanDo! Days, community centers and in studios honing their expertise in the intersections of teaching, learning and artistic practice. With the recent DOE emphasis on Nā Hopena A’o (HĀ), the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL), MACC teaching team has curated multiple lessons, frameworks and approaches to address the intersections of them.

About the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Education Department

About the Maui Arts & Cultural Center: As the state’s most comprehensive nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts facility, more than 5 million adults and children have been served by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s activities since 1994. The MACC has developed a statewide and national identity through its performing arts, visual arts and arts education programs. As an educational resource, Maui Arts & Cultural Center serves all ages from pre-school to adults, enhancing arts education in schools as well as professional development for classroom teachers. Based on significant research that arts education is vital for every child, the MACC works closely with national and local teaching artists to develop arts integration curriculum, which meets common core standards. Research shows that arts integration prepares students for the future by developing valuable life skills: collaboration, creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and communication. In 1995, the MACC partnered with the Hawai‘i Department of Education, Maui District to become Hawaii’s first recognized team affiliated with the prestigious national network, Partners in Education, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. The MACC/DOE, Maui District partnership team continues to date, and is recognized as one of the most advanced of the 110 teams in 40 states. Maui Arts & Cultural Center is also part of the statewide coalition of organizations known as ARTS FIRST Partners of Hawai‘i, which is dedicated to insuring that every child in Hawai‘i receives an arts education.

Teaching Artists

  • Moira Pirsch, Education Director
  • Kaliko Kaauamo
  • Kilihune Kaʻaihue
  • Margherita Pappas
  • Julie Matheis
  • Nohealani Cabanting
  • Hoku Pavao


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.

Teaching Artists

logo for Maui Arts and Cultural Center education department

Moira Pirsch, Education Director

Moira Pirsch PhD, the Education Director at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. She has over a decade of experience working with community initiatives on social justice, the arts, and education. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University, and her Masters Degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University. She continues her research as a Coyle Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Literacy and as a Research Affiliate at Columbia University’s Gordon Institute for Urban and Minority Education (GIUME). Her work focuses on the power of the arts to transform, uplift and empower communities. She believes in miracles.

Kaliko Kaauamo

Kaliko Kaauamo is an educator, singer, kalo farmer, and Hawaiian language advocate. As a classroom teacher for over a decade she has seen the deep connections students are able to make to Hawaiʻi when they learn the unique stories and songs of this place. Kaliko is inspired by music as a tool to transport students into stories, to support students in using Hawaiiʻs indigenous language, and in activating a deep love of place in students of all ages. Through song, oli, and traditional Hawaiian instruments students leave her classes with a deeper connection to culture and the talents within themselves.

Kilihune Kaʻaihue

Kilihune Ka’aihue was born and raised on the shores of Kailua, ‘O’ahu. With over 40 years of hula training,  she’s dedicated her life to building a firm foundation in health and wellness as a Hawaiian cultural practioner and educator. She recently completed her formal ‘ūniki training as kumu hula and believes that our mana lies within the valuable connections we establish to our three piko, in simple terms; mind, body and spirit.  When we culturally engage and mālama our mental (mind), physical (body) and emotional (spirt) well-being,  we become well-balanced kanaka rich in our identity and purposeful in serving our lāhui in beneficial ways. As an aerialist,  dancer and yoga teacher on Maui for the past 24 years, she has seen the longevity of her career apparent in her cultural approach to movement, yoga, breath work and diet. She hopes to instill these ‘ike Hawaiʻi health practices to the next generation building stronger self connections for our youth to thrive.

Margherita Pappas

Margherita Pappas has an extensive background in Performing Arts and Design. She has acted and toured with repertory companies in New York City, San Francisco and Amherst, performed as a singer in New York City and Maui as well as reaching advanced level status in Eagle Claw Kung Fu in New York City. While living in New York, she owned and ran a fashion apparel company functioning as designer, patternmaker and production manager. Margherita has lived in Maui for the last sixteen years and works with children as a teaching artist (Drama and Creative Movement) in elementary and middle schools as well as the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Can Do! Days. She is also the founder and director of a youth theater company, Theatre Vitale! and playwright of “Bombadura!” a play with song and dance for children.

Julie Matheis

Julie Matheis attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Jewelry and Light Metals, with a minor in Art History. Prior to this, she attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts, high school, where she studied fine art in a variety of 2-d & 3-d media. Her fine art jewelry has been featured in galleries internationally and in printed publications, most notably 21st Century Jewelry, by Lark Books. After moving to Hawaii, her jewelry focus shifted to production work, but she continues to handcraft each of her pieces, which are available at boutiques around Maui. As a mother of 4 children, her teaching focus has changed from teaching art classes to all age groups, to focusing primarily on creating keiki lessons that are arts integrated experiences, layered with learning, integrity, and empowerment. She hopes that inspiring our youth to observe the world around them, while developing their creative problem solving skills, will help guide her children’s generation into a place where all can thrive. She is currently on the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts teaching artist roster, has taught at the Hui No’eau Visual Art Center since 2006, and has taught Can Do Day! At the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Since 2014.

Nohealani Cabanting

Nohealani Cabanting, a homegrown product of upcountry Maui’s rich soil and vibrant culture, has crafted a life deeply rooted in her island home. For over two decades, she has called a working ranch home, where the pastures and rugged landscape became her classroom for lessons in resilience and hard work. Nohealani’s heart beats to the rhythm of her Hawaiian heritage, evident in her unwavering commitment to cultural preservation and her love for diverse art forms. This passion is a gift she shares generously, especially with the youth, whom she views as the bearers of the islands’ future. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, she seamlessly transitioned into roles as a social worker and educator. In her roles, she strives to be a bridge between cultures and generations, fostering understanding and growth. Nohealani stands at the intersection of cultural preservation, social work, and education, weaving a tapestry that reflects her commitment to community, heritage, and the arts. With her roots in Maui’s soil and her spirit in its traditions, she continues to sow seeds of knowledge, compassion, and cultural pride.

Hoku Pavao

Hoku Pavao is a performing artist and arts administrator with over 11 years in the nonprofit arts education sector and most recently a three year directing mentorship as Assistant Artistic Director under the tutelage of David C. Johnston. A born and raised Maui girl, Hoku started her schooling at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City with the end goal that she would return to Maui to share the arts knowledge and experience gained. She later continued her professional career in theatre and film in NY before returning home. Hoku’s mission focuses on inspiring and educating the keiki of Maui to ask questions about the world around them. To experience a minute, an hour, a day looking through the lens of a perspective that might differ from one’s own, leads to a better understanding of each other – ultimately connecting us to our shared humanity. Growing up in a vibrant community built upon the innate reverence for connection to each other and home, Hoku looks to intertwine her Hawaiian Culture with her Western knowledge to make the arts accessible to the keiki and community of Maui. Hoku is a firm believer that the arts hold an unapparelled ability to heal and transform individuals and communities.