Maui artist benefits from scholarship - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui artist benefits from scholarship

Lanakila Kelliher Lanakila Kelliher
Elyse Ditze Elyse Ditze
Tiffany Suh Tiffany Suh

KAHULUI, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) - The grand opening of Maui Mall's new Whole Foods market is less than three weeks away. And Lanakila Kelliher is busy creating stunning valley isle scenes inside the store.

"It's just pretty amazing and I'm so grateful and thankful for Whole Foods and everyone that has come together" said Kelliher.

"Lanakila has been just a wonderful woman to work with and has brought great beauty to our store" said Elyse Ditze, marketing director for Whole Foods .

It's a huge honor for the former Baldwin High School student turned professional artist. Kelliher says she wouldn't have been able to graduate from college and achieve this success without financial help.

"I knew that i had the love and support from my family, but i didn't have the financial backing in order to pursue my dreams" said Kelliher.

Kelliher says she received more than $12,000 in scholarships through the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF). Now she runs her own company, Lanakila Creations, and she's starting an HCF scholarship to give back.

"Every year the Jonathan Waxman Foundation and Lanakila Creations is providing $1,000 as a seed hoping that ... I just have faith that the Maui community will also contribute."

One of her murals will also serve as a backdrop for a changing art show. Some of the proceeds from sales will go to the scholarship to help struggling students.

"These days schools are very expensive. It ‘s almost impossible to continue to get your education without some sort of financial aid or scholarship" said Tiffany Suh, who is applying for an HCF scholarship .

Kelliher is now a role model for other aspiring artists. She says her journey wasn't easy, but she never lost sight of her dream.

"Everyone that supported me over those years made that very clear to me and here the fruits of hard labor are flourishing."

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