Kapa maker Roen Hufford (UHM BFA Ceramics, 1973) of Waimea (Hawaiʻi Island) is one of nine cultural practitioners being honored at the National Endowment for the Arts 2023 National Heritage Fellowship Award public ceremony. Hufford will also be on a special panel about Native art-making and the land, along with 2022 Fellow Francis “Palani” Sinenci.

Hufford carries on the labor-intensive traditional art of ka hana kapa (making barkcloth) with designs inspired by the richness of her Hawaiian environment and is a leading figure in the reclaiming of this nearly lost art.

The panel discussion is Thursday, September 28, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Hawaiʻi Time at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC, and will be livestreamed at the Heritage Fellowships page. The ceremony will be held Friday September 29, 2023, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Hawaiʻi Time at the Thomas Jefferson Building – Coolidge Auditorium in Washington, DC. The ceremony is free and open to the public to attend in person and will be livestreamed, also from the Fellowships page linked above. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships is the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Each year since 1982, the program recognizes recipients’ artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage.

The SFCA Art in Public Places Collection includes six kapa pieces made by Hufford, and three pieces (“Alaea”, “Ka Papa Honua (strata of earth)”, and “Piʻi Ka Mauna”) are on display in the “Accession: recent additions to the Art in Public Places Collection” exhibit at Capitol Modern (formerly the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum) through the end of this year. Admission is free.

Learn more by reading this press release on the NEA website.