Artist-in-Residence Holds Open Studio for Visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Artist and master of ancient Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas.
Artist and master of ancient Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas, displays his mahiole hoaka, or spoked helmet, and ‘ahu‘ula, or feathered cloak.

NPS Photo/Christa Sadler

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News Release Date: May 1, 2015

Contact: Jessica Ferracane/Public Affairs Specialist, 808-985-6018

Hawaii National Park, Hawai'i –Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park's current artist-in-residence, feather artist Rick Makanaaloha Kia'imeaokekanaka San Nicolas, is holding an open house Monday through Friday, now through May 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the 1932 Administration Building (also called the 'Ōhi'a Wing).

San Nicolas will also participate in the park's upcoming BioBlitz and Biodiversity &Cultural Festival, Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, from the 'Ōhi'a Wing, located between Kīlauea Visitor Center and Volcano House.

Rick Makanaaloha Kia'imeaokekanaka San Nicolas was recently bestowed the title of Ke Kumu Hulu Nui (feather master of ancient Hawaiian featherwork) by revered Kumu Hula (hula master) Kaha'i Topolinski. Early on, San Nicolas knew his calling was to learn from the most noted Hawaiian experts of this heritage art. His featherwork replicates the work of ancient Hawaiian masters whose finely crafted regalia were worn by Hawaiian royalty and warriors. He has honed his featherwork through research, talking to kupuna (honored elders), and by listening intently to all who want to share their story, traditions, and process. Through their dedication, San Nicolas helps perpetuate the art of feather lei making for generations to come. More of his work is also on exhibit at Volcano House.

The National Parks Arts Foundation, now in its second year of working with the National Park Service at Hawai'i Volcanoes, coordinates the park's artist-in-residence program. The National Parks Arts Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 supported by donations from the public. To help fund upcoming artist-in-residence programs in a number of parks, call (505) 715-6492, email, and visit


Feathered hat bands
Feathered hat bands

Photo courtesy of Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas

Last updated: May 4, 2015

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