Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a lava chaser, there’s always something exciting going on in Volcano, Hawaii. And if you’re visiting Volcano this September, be prepared to be inspired. From art exhibits to erupting Kilauea, the creative energy of Volcano is remarkably evident right now! Here are five things you have to see while visiting!

#1 Madam Pele’s Art Work

Those of us who live here in Volcano know that Kilauea Volcano is much more than a geological feature. It’s also Pele’s work of art! 

The Hawaiian goddess of creativity, fire, and the volcano, Pele has been using the rugged landscape of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as her canvas almost continuously since 1983. Most recently, her dazzling displays have included an active lava lake with geysers of lava at the Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

Tutu’s tip:  We saw the eruption 45 minutes after it started. It was around 4:15 pm when we got there and I have never seen it during the day! There were 14 geysers going… Fabulous! See it while you can because you never know how long the eruption will last. When Kilauea erupted in June, it was for only 12 days! 

If you’re planning to view Pele’s latest exhibit, here are some essential tips from our ranger friends at the park:  

Be Prepared: Don’t forget your flashlight, rain gear, hoodie, hat, and sturdy shoes. Since rain and fog can obstruct the eruption view, check the weather in the park before you go. 

Be Savvy: The best time to see Kilauea erupting is at night. The red hot glow against a black sky always draws a crowd, so arrive after 10 pm, or an hour or two before sunrise, to avoid the rush and capture the glow.

Be Safe: Rope lines and hazard signs are in place to protect everyone from dangerous volcanic fumes, unexpected rim collapses, and hidden cracks, so stay out of closed areas! 

For more information, visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website.

#2 Volcano Art Center

In 1974, an eclectic group of artists that had settled down in Volcano Village collaborated to bring to life the educational, nonprofit organization we know as Volcano Art Center (VAC). Today, the Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus and educational facility operate 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 classes for residents and visitors alike.

This month at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus, check out a solo exhibition by Phan Nguyen Barker titled Walking Through Mist – Metaphors and Memories. Opening Saturday, September 16th and continuing through Sunday, October 8th, the public is invited to meet the artist at the opening reception on Saturday, September 16th, from 2 pm to 4 pm.

#3 Volcano Garden Arts

A World Heritage Site positioned a mile from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is Volcano Garden Arts, a historical farmhouse that our friend Ira Ono transformed into a gallery attracting visitors from near and far with its art studio, cultivated gardens, and greenhouses. Dine in Café Ono’s lush Hawaiian garden estate, discover ceramics, fiber arts, painting, sculpture, and other contemporary Hawaiian arts and fine crafts in the studio, and explore the grounds on a self-guided tour. Volcano Garden Arts even features a “Secret Garden” nature trail that provides access to the large surrounding upland rain forest. 

#4 Fahrenheit 2400

On the upper slopes of Kilauea Volcano sits Fahrenheit 2400, the studio of artists Michael and Misato Mortara. This husband-and-wife duo create fine, handmade glass sculptures and limited edition glass vessels, beach cups, vases, and stunning jewelry. The ocean pendant and lava necklace are essentially wearable works of art! 

#5 Ola’a House

Our Volcano vacation rental, Ola’a House, is a work of art in itself! With an entrance defined by lava rock walls, Ola‘a House is inspired by the Craftsman bungalows pervasive in plantation management housing, 

Ola‘a House has been thoughtfully updated by Albert Jeyte, former Magnum PI make-up artist and co-founder of Kilauea Lodge, with vibrant colors, original art from local artists, and vintage Hawaiian furnishings, including a replica of the four-poster royal bed frame currently found in the Hulihe‘e Palace. And most of the art you’ll find at Ola’a House is by Gwendolyn O’Connor, a renowned artist and resident of the Ola’a district of the Big Island. 

Ola’a House is also minutes away from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses the summit of Kīlauea, as well as Volcano Village, which many artists call home to this day. After a day of admiring art (and maybe adding a few new pieces to your own collection), catch the ethereal glow of the volcano’s lava after sunset, then head back Ola’a House to curl up in front of the expansive living room’s gas fireplace with a glass of wine from Volcano Winery to reflect on all the beauty of the Big Island. 

If you are traveling with a bigger group, why not rent Ola’a House and Tutu’s Place, which is conveniently located across the lane and is owned by Albert’s wife, Tutu Lorna herself? Book your stay at the Volcano Heritage Cottages today and get ready to be inspired!