Many artists choose to call Volcano Village, Hawaii home, and with good reason! The village is located just outside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses the summit of Kīlauea

Much more than a geological feature, the Kīlauea Volcano is a creative force in and of itself. Like the creation of art, its eruptions are a process. And Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of creativity, fire, and the volcano, is Kīlauea’s unavoidable, sometimes destructive life force! 

Those of us who reside here in Volcano live in the presence of Pele. And it is her constant, creative energy that makes Volcano, HI the perfect location for an art center. 

A History of Attracting Creatives

In 1846, a grass house was built to provide lodging in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. By 1877, the structure had undergone upgrades and was known as the Volcano House Hotel. And it has a history of attracting some rather impressive creatives, including writers Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain. 

In 1974, an eclectic band of artists that had settled down in the village of Volcano collaborated to bring to life the Volcano Art Center (VAC). An educational, nonprofit organization, VAC functioned as both a cultural arts showcase and a gallery that was so successful, it soon outgrew its original facility. In fact, demonstrations and classes were in such demand that the Volcano Art Center had to be relocated, first to the Volcano Village campus and eventually to the 1877 Volcano House in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

A Mecca for Artists

To this day, Volcano is still a mecca for writers, artists, educators, performers, and scientists from around the world seeking to create, learn, reflect, and connect with nature’s power and raw beauty. 

The Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus and educational facility are at the core of this synergy and growth, operating a thriving fine arts gallery that showcases the handcrafted artwork of more than 230 local artists. Nestled within the Niaulani Rain Forest, the Center also develops and offers programs for residents and visitors alike, such as the award-winning Na Mea Hawai’i Hula Kahiko performance series, held at the park’s kahua hula.

Sparking Creativity and Making Memories

Start off your week on the right foot and find your muse among the trees by taking a walking tour of the native rainforest surrounding the Volcano Art Center (available on Monday mornings, 9:30 am to 10:30 am). Or get the creative juices flowing with a stroll through the expansive outdoor sculpture garden, which is open daily. 

The Volcano Art Center’s Hale Ho’omana and the rustic outdoors offer an idyllic backdrop for classes in the Hawaiian language, acrylics, ceramics, glass, stained glass, watercolor, zentangle, and more. 

Instead of taking home the same hackneyed old souvenirs, browse the stunning artwork in the VAC gallery and find a unique piece that will forever remind you of your trip to the Big Island. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that your purchase supports our local artists and the Volcano community, as well as the Center’s arts education, cultural, forest restoration, and professional artist development programs.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Art Center
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you’re sure to connect with your creative side when you visit the Volcano Art Center.

Where People, Art and Nature Meet

For centuries, the powerful atmosphere of Volcano, Hawai’i has inspired the Hawaiian people and their crafts, dances, songs, and mo’olelo (stories). And the Volcano Art Center continues to develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural, and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education.

From the ancient petroglyphs etched into the hardened lava of Pu’u Loa to the fiery blossoms of our sacred ‘ōhi’a trees, we are so grateful to live and work in a place that is very alive with the mana to create and grow… and to share it with visitors to Hawai’i Island. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you’re sure to leave the Volcano Art Center inspired to connect with your creative side! 

The Volcano Art Center is easily accessible from the Volcano Heritage Cottages, making our vacation rentals the ideal home base for exploring the Center and beyond while visiting Hawai’i Island. Book a stay at Tutu’s Place or the Ola’a House in Volcano today and get ready to be inspired by the diversity and beauty of the Big Island!