‘Puna Peace Mural’ Unveiled at Kea’au High
Months after the relocation of many Pahoa-area students, Kea’au High School has been decorated with a new piece of art.
The “Puna Peace Mural” was unveiled Friday afternoon at the high school, with inspiration drawn from the October 2014 decision to partially reassign students in the Pahoa area to other complex schools. Kea’au High School was the option for many Pahoa High and Intermediate School students as lava threatened the Pahoa community.
Award-winning artist and long-time Puna resident Ken Charon says he was sparked to make the mural after the reassignment.
The 6-by-12-foot mural hangs in the school’s H-Building and was funded by the Volcano Art Center through a grant from the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, together with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and Ceeds of Peace.
School officials hope the mural will remind students and faculty members of how the school community came together when faced with the June 27 lava flow.
“There’s sometimes a tense rivalry between the Kea’au and Puna schools, so I thought I could help ease those tensions with art,” Charon stated.
Fifteen students from both Kea’au and Pahoa, along with teachers at the high school, assisted Charon in the project. Using acrylic paints and three sheets of primed Masonite, the project promotes peace and sense of community.
“The students were really excited to have a chance to get involved, and with a professional artist, of course,” said Kea’au High School art teacher Russ Cummins. “Ken was a great teacher for them.”
“During the painting sessions we discussed the critical ‘C’ skills promoted by Ceeds of Peace: Critical thinking, Courage, Conflict resolution, Compassion, Collaboration, Commitment, and Community,” said Charon.
Charon previously worked in the Hawai’i State Department of Education’s Artist in the Schools Program.