Here are words from our students or parents of student on the impact Hunakai has made on their life.

“Hunakai has been an amazing experience both for developing my artistic abilities and building my personal confidence.  I have been a student at Hunakai since 6th grade when my school art teacher referred me to Carla.  Now as a senior building my college art portfolio, I have worked with many talented studio instructors, in a variety of media, to showcase my talent. The support and guidance they have provided has allowed me to see the wide-range of possibilities for college majors and careers which best fit my personality and interests.” —Long term student

“I was thankful for the scholarship. It came at a time when money was tight due to husband out of work for an illness. It provided an outlet and support for my son throughout the past few years. It is nice to know he has a place to go that will not judge him or look at him differently. One that I know will support him if needed to cope with his new and tragic loss. I truly am grateful he has this to support him…” —Mother of scholarship recipient

“Because of time constraints my son wasn’t able to develop a portfolio at his high school. The art teacher sent him to RISD, but it wasn’t until he started developing his portfolio at Hunakai that he was able to get the work together and develop a portfolio he needed to be accepted to college.” —Mother of High School student

“My son has high functioning autism, which comes with its positive and negative points. One of the special interests and talents that my son has had from an early age is drawing; so much so that it can become a distraction for him in school. As a creative outlet for all the ideas he had rushing around in his head, we decided to enroll him in art class. After looking at many options, we decided upon Hunakai because they were the only local studio that offered a cartooning class. My son absolutely loved the class! In addition to the skills he built cartooning, he also made unique friendships with kids who shared a similar interest. The environment was accepting, supportive and collaborative, which can be especially hard to find when you are a child with social difficulties. My son enjoyed the class so much, that upon completing it, he decided to branch out and take a special project class. My child, who has trouble straying from a schedule or set idea, felt so comfortable in this environment that he accomplished a 3D piece of art that he never would have considered trying before. He was so happy and proud of himself for the work he had created, that it was icing on the cake when one of the other artists approached him about having his work considered for a blog about super heroes – he just beamed. I cannot say enough positive things about all of the staff and students at Hunakai – thank you for being the special people that you are and for all that you do!” —Mother of young teen

“Carla is always challenging us with new watercolor techniques and demonstrates them in way that motivates us to depart from the norm. Hunakai is a win win situation.” —Adult Student

“We hoped to give her something that meant something to her when she lost interest in almost everything. We found Hunakai Studio and it soon became her sanctuary. A place where the others didn’t call her the weird kid with the sketchbook who doesn’t talk to anyone. A place where nobody labeled her. Hunakai Studio gave her so much more than just art classes, they gave her a place where she belonged when she couldn’t fit in anywhere else, where she has become comfortable.She has managed to deal with the changes in her life, the bad dreams, her fears and has become so much stronger and secure. Hunakai Studio truly is her sanctuary.” —Mother of teen