Raiatea Helm, NACF Honoree


The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation recently awarded grant money to native Hawaiian artists and arts/cultural organizations. Recent NACF honoree, Raiatea Helm was awarded $20,000 for a music fellowship! Congratulations to Raiatea!

Click to read the full press release:


VANCOUVER, Wash., Jan. 2 – The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) recently awarded its 2011 grants to 28 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artists and organizations in 15 states. Grants were awarded in three categories: Support for Individual Artists: “2011 Artist Fellowships” (total allocation $100,000); Mobilizing the Community Through the Arts: “2011 Artist Convenings Initiative” (total allocation $110,000) and “2011 Artist and Community Collaboration Initiative” (total allocation $100,000); and Support for the Field: “2011 Regional Collaboration Pilot Program” (total allocation $200,000).


This year’s recipients include one Native Hawaiian artist and five Native Hawaiian arts and cultural organizations. The Native Hawaiian grant recipients include: musician Raiatea Helm, Honolulu; Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, Honolulu; Kahilu Theatre Foundation, Kamuela; Hula Preservation Society, Kaneohe; Kuleana ‘Oiwi Press, Honolulu; and Pa’i Foundation, Honolulu.

Raiatea Helms’ award is a $20,000 music fellowship. The Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus’ $10,000 grant will support a newly commissioned opera (to premiere in July) and making it available to local schools and other choirs in the United States. The Kahilu Theatre Foundation’s $10,000 grant will support the 10th gathering of the Waimea Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Institute at the Kahilu Theatre. The Hula Preservation Society’s $14,000 grant will support a series of workshops. Kuleana ‘Oiwi Press’ $12,000 grant will support a Maoli Writers Conference. The Pa’i Foundation’s $40,000 grant supports the Foundation’s operational activities.

The NACF is the first national 501(c)(3) charity committed to building a fund dedicated exclusively to foster the revitalization, appreciation and continuity of Native arts and cultures This year’s grant sizes ranged from $10,000 to $40,000, with a total allocation of $510,000 which is up from $394,319 in 2010. This is the NACF’s second year of grantmaking.

“Support for this country’s Native arts and cultures is critical to our Foundation’s mission, which is to nurture the creativity of Native artists and organizations through our grantmaking program,” says NACF President/CEO  T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian). “The NACF congratulates all of our 2011 grantees for projects and work that have not only inspired us at the NACF but also raised the visibility of Native arts and cultures in the United States and globally.”

To learn more about the NACF, visit www.nativeartsandcultures.org and sign up for the free e-newsletter. Become a fan of the organization on Facebook.

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Grantee Information:

  • Raiatea Helm (Native Hawaiian)

Location: Honolulu

Award: $20,000 (Support for Individual Artists: “2011 Artist Fellowships”)

Raiatea Helm is a much-heralded musician, who at 26 possesses a focused artistic vision, vocal range and clarity, and the innate and rhythmic giftedness of a musician much her senior. Born into a musically talented family, her first love was not singing, but dancing hula from the age of three. Through hula, she developed a deep respect and appreciation for the Hawaiian language and art of interpreting a mele through its cadenced movements. Her family brimming with musicians and musical talent, she was instinctively destined for the stage. Remarkably, she has been playing professionally for more than 10 years and received her first of two Grammy Awards nominations at 21 and locally in Hawaii she is six-time winner of Female Vocalist of the Year. Her voice is singular and captivating and she is a natural performer of leo ki`eki`e, a trilling falsetto style of singing, a hallmark of traditional Hawaiian performance. She has recorded four full-length studio albums and one live performance album. She tours throughout the Pacific Rim and the continent and collaborates with legends of Hawaiian music including the Cazimero Brothers and Keali’i Reichel. Helm has just released a new studio recording which turns again to traditional Hawaiian music from the 1950’s and early 1960’s, including songs that have not been heard in more than 60 years, bringing them to life with new arrangements and fresh voicing. Additionally, she is in the process of establishing “The Raiatea Helm Hawaiian Music Foundation.” Of great concern to Raiatea is the preservation of traditional Hawaiian music and the mission of the foundation is to promote traditional Hawaiian music through music camps, providing scholarships, and producing educational materials to perpetuate the history and music of Hawaiian composers and writers.

·      Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus

Location: Honolulu

Award: $10,000 (Mobilizing the Community Through the Arts: “2011 Artist and Community Collaboration Initiative”)

OPERAtunities: students from the fourth to twelfth grades will premiere a newly commissioned 120-minute, two-act opera, which will be showcased in July of 2012. It is composed by Herb Mahelona, Jr. and accompanied by a small 12-piece orchestra. The opera will be performed for an estimated 400 individuals, including children and adults. Accessible to all ages, the new composition will be made available to local schools and other choirs in the nation that are interested in a youth opera, building the repertoire of original Hawaiian music and also furthering Hawaiian culture through opera on Hawaiian themes.

  • Kahilu Theatre Foundation

Location: Kamuela

Award: $10,000 (Mobilizing the Community Through the Arts: “2011 Artist and Community Collaboration Initiative”)

Waimea Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Institute: funding will support the 10th gathering at the Kahilu Theatre providing a multi-day Institute comprised of public performances, workshops, and youth school shows. There are a variety of formats including: talk-story sessions, a kanikapila, stage performance, and both individual and small group instructional classes. The variety of formats allows for wide-ranging interaction between the artists and the audience, and among the artists themselves.

Hula Preservation Society

Location: Kaneohe

Award: $14,000 (Mobilizing the Community Through the Arts: “2011 Artist Convenings Initiative”)

Honoring The Ancients: the project brings together Native hula practitioners to share in and celebrate ancient hula practices for which instruction is not readily available today. The specific practices at great risk include: Hula `Ohe (Nose Flute Hula), Hula Papa Hehi ame Kala`au (Treadleboard Dance with Hand Sticks), and Hula `Ulili (Dance with Spinning Gourd Rattle). The creation and utilization of these rare implements has been lost in most hula lines throughout the Hawaiian Islands. HPS is in the position to share its knowledge of these forms with Native artists from across the islands in order to grow the base of Native people with authentic knowledge of these rare forms, further the preservation of each form, promote collaboration among Native practitioners involved in the program, and build a core of teachers who desire to master these complex practices.

  • Kuleana ‘Oiwi Press

Location: Honolulu

Award: $12,000 (Mobilizing the Community Through the Arts: “2011 Artist Convenings Initiative”)

InK (Indigenous Knowledge) Native Hawaiian Literature and Writerʻs Conference: the project will convene the first ever Native Hawaiian Writers and Literature conference, “InK” (Indigenous Knowledge), to be held in the fall of 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. It will be open to ages from young adult to kupuna (elders). The events over the course of two-three days will feature writing workshops, readings, plenary panels, and published Native Hawaiian writers and keynotes including poets, novelists, and short story writers.

  • Pa’i Foundation

Location: Honolulu

Award: $40,000 (“2011 Regional Collaboration Pilot Program”)

PA‘I Foundation’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations. The PA‘I Foundation has established a cultural center on O’ahu to better serve the broader Hawaiian community. The foundation is among a group, which is the driving force behind movements to recover language, cultural traditions, healing practices, voyaging, navigations and agricultural practices of a people that are now the minority population in their ancestral land.  Since 2006, the PA‘I Foundation and the Bishop Museum have been engaged in a successful partnership that allowed the two organizations to secure funding to launch the Native Hawaiian Arts Market.  Modeled on the Santa Fe Indian Market, this event serves as a way to celebrate Native Hawaiian contemporary artists.  The Market has established a venue for artists to share, exhibit and sell their work.  This two-day celebration has grown into a month long event that incorporates an arts market; gallery showings; children’s arts events; a wearable art show; and an awards reception – all taking place throughout downtown Honolulu.