Aloha Friday on the Porch at Volcano Art Center

By Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

Aloha Fridays. Photo: Volcano Art Center.

Aloha Friday on the Porch is the real deal — an introduction to traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts led by skilled practitioners. The interactive, two-hour sessions have the welcoming, low-key, come-as-you-are vibe of a gathering of friends and family. Set amid the magnificent beauty of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP), the gallery of Volcano Art Center (VAC) provides the ideal setting for the program.

Aloha Friday’s Lei Making.  Photo: Volcano Art Center.

Participants sit on benches and lauhala mats on the lanai, eager to learn from their teachers who are just as eager to share. Topics include ukulele, hula, oli (chant), ohe kapala (printing with bamboo stamps) and making lei with fresh ferns, leaves and flowers.

Meakanu Kapala. Photo: Volcano Art Center.

As the state’s top attraction, HVNP draws more than 1.8 million visitors from all over the world every year. Aloha Friday on the Porch started in 2012 in response to their requests for opportunities to connect directly with kamaaina who are knowledgeable about Hawaiian history and culture. Since then, it has become popular with both malihini (newcomers) and local residents, who often bring their out-of-town guests so they can experience authentic Hawaiian culture firsthand, and, in the process, increase their understanding about and appreciation for the Islands.

Aloha Friday’s Ukulele.
Photo: Volcano Art Center.

Aloha Friday on the Porch takes place every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; join in whenever you can during that time frame. There’s no charge to participate; however, you must pay admission to enter HVNP.

Stamping at Aloha Fridays.
Photo: Volcano Art Center.

Either before or after the program, be sure to browse in the gallery, which showcases beautiful handcrafted creations by more than 300 local artists. It is housed in what was the third of five incarnations of Volcano House, an inn on the 4,000-foot summit of Kilauea volcano. The building was constructed in 1877, restored in the 1970s and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. King Kalakaua, Louis

Aloha Fridays. Photo: Volcano Art Center.

Founded in 1974, VAC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that also offers classes in yoga, Pilates, pottery meditation, dance, painting, stained glass and more at its Niaulani campus in Volcano village. For more information, call (808) 967-8222 or go to

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