Our Process

Youth Development • Arts Education • Cultural Preservation • Community Building

Mele Murals utilizes a time tested process designed to empower and inspire youth. Our methodology has been used throughout the United States and internationally.
Arts-interested youth, potential advisors, community leaders, artists, musicians and organizations are identified and assembled.

Youth form their own Hālau Pāheona (Visual Arts Mural Club) within their school or community center and begin organizing their mural and participating in online art assignments provided by The Estria Foundation. Assistance is given by cultural advisors who help ask the land and ancestors what should be painted.

Our Process Step 2

Students, with help from the Estria Foundation team, secure wall space and gather community support.

An advisory group of Hawaiian music experts and cultural practitioners assist students to pair lyrics to the subject matter. Workshops are held on the song’s history, on how the mele relates to the mural’s location and content.

Our Process Step 4

Haumāna (students) ground and receive ideas for the mural. A sketch of the mural is developed by a team of artists based on the workshop dialogue and incorporating some of the lyrics. The team grounds and asks if the sketch is pono (just, proper) before painting.

Our Process Step 5


Work begins at the mural site. The location and team are blessed by a kahu and painted by artists working together with the youth.

Our Process Step 6

The mural is unveiled at a community celebration.

Our Process Step 7

Youth muralists who have completed murals become Mele Murals docents and stewards, and mentors to future youth muralists.

Our Process Step 8

Surveys are taken and reviewed to gauge the program’s success. Changes are incorporated to improve effectiveness.

We Need

Your Help

Your tax-deductible financial contributions provide critically needed support of public arts and placemaking programs in Hawai‘i.

We Need Your Help

Provide Hawai‘i schools with qualified arts educators, cultural advisors and professional muralists to guide students through the Mele Murals process.

We Need Your Help

Provide students with essential art supplies.

We Need Your Help

Helps Hawai‘i communities share their cultural heritage through large-scale mural masterpieces.

The entire process is documented through photography, film, social media, and published materials.

The completed Mele Murals series provides opportunities for ongoing education, cultural tourism, and community development.

In addition, TEF will provide annual Orientations and Conferences. Orientations are 2-day intensive trainings on how to do a mural and is offered to newly formed Halau Paheona. Conferences are 3-days culminating in a day-long youth team battle. Halau Paheona across all the islands will meet and network, and receive advanced training from leaders in the field. At this time convenings, panel discussions, art shows and other events are being considered as well.

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