Donkey Mill Art Center

Donkey Mill Art Center: Discover Big Island's Community-Oriented Artistic Opportunities
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Donkey Mill Art Center brings a variety of artistic opportunities to the Big Island, where cultural fluency is deemed essential to breaking down barriers. At the Mill, locals and tourists alike can view exhibitions, shop for souvenirs, or take part in workshops that unleash their creative power. Add this remarkable spot to your itinerary to round out a culturally vibrant Big Island experience.

- The Local Expert Team

Big Island’s artistic community is thriving, as seen in its many galleries and art museums. While it can be delightful to observe the island’s best and brightest works of art, a whole new level of inspiration strikes when you’re the master behind the easel. This is possible at Big Island’s Donkey Mill Art Center, which invites you to get intimately acquainted with the region’s cultural traditions. 

Nestled among the farms that dot a dormant volcano, this center pays homage to the critical role that art and culture play in our daily lives. The unique community that gathers here acknowledges that artistic expression is vital to all types of people — it should not be merely thought of as a luxury. To that end, the forces behind this artistic movement hope that the Mill’s programs will help to break down Hawaii’s persistent cultural and socioeconomic barriers. 

The center’s overarching goal is to build community resilience — a concept that verifies whether regions can provide sufficient care on both an individual and collective basis. This is achieved within a welcoming space: a historic building that was originally created by coffee farmers who hoped to act as stewards. Today, the Mill pays it forward by providing a variety of programs and workshops. These are targeted at novices and professionals alike, with all ages (from toddlers to seniors) represented. 

Many events consist of single-visit sessions that appeal greatly to vacationers. Those who stick around the Big Island can dive in deep with weekly classes, some of which meet on several occasions to provide thorough training and ample creative opportunities. Whether you visit just once or find yourself returning on several occasions, you’ll be amazed by all the creative insights and cultural knowledge you gain from this vibrant community.

From printmaking to fine art and ceramics, there truly is something for everyone at the Donkey Mill Art Center. Those with large-scale creative ambitions can take introductory workshops and then make the most of the open studio sessions. This provides easy access to essential tools and materials, making it a wonderful opportunity for self-starters who’ve struck inspirational gold on the Big Island.

Artistic creation is actively encouraged at the Mill, but you’re also welcome to simply gaze at the spectacular art on display. Rotating exhibitions present the island’s most memorable artistic collections. These are available for viewing throughout the day but are also presented during opening receptions or even storytelling sessions. 

Shopping is also a favorite activity at this lovely art center, where you can find the most unique gifts and souvenirs imaginable. Special sales are often held, giving you the chance to support the center and the many artists who make this community possible. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a creative genius or lack any semblance of artistry: you’ll find your inner creativity sparked when you spend time at the Donkey Mill Art Center. Stop by to discover what the Big Island’s artistic scene is all about.

Insider Tips:
-Registration for the Mill’s various classes and workshops should be completed well in advance. Check the schedule first, as the Mill’s offerings are constantly changing. From there, you can call the Mill directly or register online.
-The artistic beauty of the Mill extends beyond its historic coffee building to the surrounding gardens. Stroll the grounds if you get the chance; you’ll find wauke (paper mulberry), pandanus, and more. Sweeping views are also available, although these are even more impressive from the unique vantage point of the upstairs lanai.