Delivering CARES Act Relief Funds for Art and Culture in Hawaiʻi

August 17, 2020

The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA), Hawaiʻi’s state government arts agency, is delivering $427,500 to thirty-six Hawaiʻi arts and culture organizations impacted by COVID-19. These CARES Act Relief funds, provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), are intended to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to organizations that add value to our economy and creative life of our communities.

View the full list of grant recipients by island, with award amount.

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are members of the business community – employing people locally, purchasing goods and services within the community, and involved in the marketing and promotion of their cities. The arts are an economic driver in their communities, supporting jobs and generating government revenue. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production accounts for $2,606,035,292 and 22.9% of the Hawaiʻi economy, contributing 2,186 jobs. (source: “Creative Economy State Profiles: Hawaiʻi”, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies,

Quotes from Grant Recipients

“This funding helps us to fulfill our cultural mission to perpetuate Hawaiʻi’s cultural traditions through the Prince Lot Hula Festival, a community celebration for the past 42 years. This year, especially during the pandemic, raising funds to support our virtual television festival in the Fall has been very challenging. SFCA funds are critical to help us maintain our operations and keep our staff employed.” – Pauline Worsham, Managing Director, Moanalua Gardens Foundation

“During a typical year, Spring is one of our most active seasons for art classes, outreach programs, school field trips, exhibitions, and community art events. COVID-19 caused all of this activity to come to an unexpected halt, and like many other nonprofit arts organizations, Hui No‘eau faced significant losses. CARES funding is helping with some of our essential expenses, which means we can continue to focus on our important arts education work and giving back to our local community. The arts uplift our spirits and enhance our well-being, so we are most grateful to be able to serve in this way with support from CARES Act funding.” – Lana Coryell, Program Director, Hui Noʻeau

Neighbor Islanders have a difficult enough time accessing arts programs when conditions are normal. During the shutdown associated with COVID-19, difficult became impossible. Traveling inter-island meant 14 days quarantine to attend a  function on Oahu—and another 14 days quarantine when returning home.  Normally organizations engaged in cultural preservation, can raise funds through the sale of ethnic foods, cultural performances of folk singing and dancing, and workshops that teach everything from embroidery to cooking  These activities enforce cultural preservation.  During the pandemic, facilities used for performances and workshops were closed. Events were limited to ten people, masked and socially distanced.  The CARES Act provided funds to sustain arts organizations until normalcy returns.” – Audrey Rocha Reed, Program Director, Portuguese Association of Maui

Although Hawaii United Okinawa Center (HUOA) is not in business to make money, HUOA does conduct business: hiring staff, distributing cultural goods, performances and services, and HUOA has a large facility with utility bills to pay. Due to the pandemic and resulting shut down orders, all of HUOA’s fundraising events have been cancelled and donations have decreased. The vital support received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) has enabled HUOA to reallocate funds to facility maintenance and utility costs for the Hawaii Okinawa Center.” – Jon S. Itomura, Executive Director, Hawaii United Okinawa Association

The CARES funding will allow the Kauaʻi Chorale to continue our connection during this unprecedented time, via online music lessons and rehearsals. We will be encouraged to strengthen our connections to each other, enhance our musicianship, and keep alive the vision of future performances.” – Christina M. Alderate, Kauaʻi Chorale

In a time when performing arts organizations struggle to redefine themselves, our CARES Act funds are a welcome resource for renewal.” – Robert Pollock, Executive Director, Ebb & Flow Arts

“This year will be a time of great change, funding for the arts will help our communities survive this pandemic and the economic challenges we will be facing.” – Vicky Holt Takamine, Executive Director, PAʻI Foundation

“Children who make music embody commitment, teamwork and persistence—all proven to be vital to success in school and to joy in life. The funding from the CARES Act is essential to our keeping access to the musical arts open to all young people across the state of Hawaiʻi, and importantly to our rural and under-resourced communities. Music is an uplifting force in the face of challenging times, and now more than ever we need to ensure our creative communities continue to thrive.” – Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony Orchestra

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced Honolulu Theatre for Youth to change the way we deliver arts content. As we can no longer perform for live audiences, we shifted our focus to creating digital content to be used both by teachers in classrooms and families at home. The SFCA CARES Act Grant funds will provide much needed support for staff salaries as the organization adjusts to this new business model.” – Rebecca Dunning, Managing Director, Honolulu Theatre for Youth

“CARES Act funding was important because it partially replaced income lost due to the necessary cancellation of the final concert of our season, thereby helping the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra to meet incurred staff and administrative expenses and help us plan to fulfill our mission of presenting live performances of symphonic music to, and enriching the lives of all the people of Hawaiʻi Island during the coming season.” – Joel Gimpel, President, Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra

Media Contacts for Grantee Organizations:

  • Hawaii United Okinawa Association

Jon S. Itomura, Executive Director

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (808) 676-5400

  • Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony Orchestra

Susan Wright, Public Relations, [email protected]

Hannah Clauss, [email protected]

  • Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Rebecca Dunning, Managing Director
Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (808) 839-9885 ext. 703

  • Hui Noʻeau

Lana Coryell, Program Director

Email: [email protected]

  • Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra

Joel Gimpel, President

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (808) 325-4991

  • Moanalua Gardens Foundation

Pauline Worsham, Managing Director

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (808) 839-5334

  • PAʻI Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (808) 844-2001

  • Portuguese Association of Maui

Email: Audrey Rocha Reed, Program Director

Telephone: (808) 243-0065

About the SFCA

The Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) was founded in 1965 as the official arts agency of the State of Hawaiʻi. The mission of the SFCA is to promote, perpetuate, and preserve culture and the arts in Hawai‘i. SFCA funding is provided by the State of Hawaiʻi and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The SFCA is administratively attached to the Department of Accounting and General Services (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 9).

Executive Director: Jonathan Johnson

Board of Commissioners President: Lloyd Unebasami


Facebook: @HawaiiSFCA

Twitter: @Hawaii_SFCA

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