Inspiration, Gratitude, Lahaina, & LT Smooth

Aloha Graceful Ones!

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So much to celebrate now, this moment! And tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow. This Thankful Season, I am grateful you are in my life. Grateful for being alive, for Koakane’s radiant health restoration, and for good friends, artist collaborators, educators, parents, uncles, and aunts, and most of all, the children who inspire and are inspired by you, by me, by us together.


I am excited to share with you news about Grammy-award-winning musician LT Smooth and his HEARO Foundation. We couldn’t be happier. Smooth not only performs for audiences around the world but also meets with youth in schools and in prison, in an effort to provide hope, guidance, and love. Today, he’s building the Heart of Music Academy, to help troubled youth through music in Kona, Hawaiʻi.
LT Smooth photo He had a brilliant fundraising idea to bring ArtWavEs to more children and teens. We agreed to partner for at least two events in 2024, and doing one thing — and then two things — that were totally off-the charts unexpected. I am thrilled to tell you about it, but first… please take a moment to appreciate YOU, your being, and feel the joy of children coming more fully alive.

Here are a few Gratitude Stories from the land of ArtWavEs in the spirit of AWE!


Once upon a time, a young girl found solace in painting, healing her wounds through vibrant strokes of color. “Painting makes me happy,” she said. “This is my heart singing!”

In the darkest of times, a boy discovered the magic of storytelling, unlocking a world of imagination and resilience in the picture stories he created to soothe the pain of hunger, parents who argued, and a world in peril. “I created a story with talking animals who go on amazing adventures and show us how to live together. In peace. It’s like a dream!” he said.

Children who discover the power of their dreams and make art about their experiences do better in school, score higher in tests, and have more confidence in navigating a stressful world. Painting, music, and dance rouse their creative juices to generate the vision, skill, and discipline they need to thrive in a world that works for everyone.

“When I sing, I feel like I can be anything I want to be!” one said.

This may sound like a childhood fantasy, but Patanjali, one of India’s greatest scholars, described our ability to perform miracles like this 2300 years ago. He even shared exactly how to prepare for them:
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new great, and wonderful world,” he wrote in his Sutras.

Patanjali felt that human beings could be encouraged to achieve their highest potential, stitch by stitch (sutra by sutra, and in this way, we sew goodness into the spiritual fabric of the world. “Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive,” he promised. “You discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

When children, especially those distressed by violence, illness, and poverty, focus on goodness, gratitude, forgiveness, mindful movement, and imaginative brushstrokes, they rediscover themselves. The natural goodness in their inner world flows, cleansing everything that came before.

They discover the transformative power and inspiration of art. Rising toward a brighter future, full of joy and healing, they feel the spiritual empowerment all humans are born to realize. They are inspired! They are in AWE!

One child or a group may capture the beauty of brokenness, as Kona children did after the Maui wildfires. On September 3rd at a benefit called Maui Love for Maui Strong, a concert and fair to raise funds for Maui survivors, ArtWavEs set up paints, silks, and a multitude of colors and media at the Tony Honda in Kailua.

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Under a humorless Sun in a cool Keiki tent graciously set up by Binti Bailey, everyone was low-key. But the wind. It whipped so fast through and around the tent the banners wouldn’t hang; they flew sideways and up on top of the canvas, spinning like airplane propellers, so they were hard to see, and yet hard to miss. Much like the grief we Hawaii Islanders feel for our close neighbor island.
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Seeing how they could pick up a paintbrush and just explore, they were soon in the creative zone. “How are you feeling today?” Sad, angry, scared, nervous, and happy for kids that survived — these were some of the emotions that came up in their descriptions and in the forms they imagined, all in empathy with the children of Lahaina. Some Keiki painted Peace Flags for themselves, to take home. Many chose to paint for their neighbors in Maui and gave me their silk creations to piece together in an array as a gift for children affected by the fires.

When I got home with the painted silk gifts for Maui, I assembled them into a five-flag array and was stunned by the amazing story of MAUI TRANSFORMED that appeared. (In the photo, the MAUI array of 5 Peace Flags hung horizontally is flanked on the right by two vertical Peace Banners)
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The MAUI Story

-The dragon comes from above the volcano and brings fearsome heat and threat.

-Fires engulf and chaos ensues.

-Beautiful green Maui, marked by a red sizzling Lahaina burn. A child writes on the flag, “Alohi to Maui!”

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-The recovering mountainside, the Ahupua’a, a sustainable land feature where water flows from the mountain to the sea with the declaration, “MAUI STRONG.”

-Where we are headed: “Peace on Earth,” depicting a peace dove with an olive branch in her mouth.

In just five scenes, it’s a hard, tragic, and painful story, but a good story. Healing from turmoil and grief for the lives of beloveds lost too soon. It’s about giving, thanksgiving for what we have, for the steady tools of conscious breathing, intention, imagination, and the profound healing of peace-making expressive arts.

While in the windy tent at the Honda dealership, Kona children were inspired to feel their empathy with all the fire-afflicted children and families of Lahaina. The paintings are honest, wonder-filled, and glimmering with emotional intelligence. You can tell their hearts are open to the particular and the whole. The personal shock and affinity with families living across the Alanuinui Channel, the body of tumultuous water flowing between the Big Island and Maui, were balanced by the colors and shapes of compassion flowing through them. To see this in children so young makes my heart leap in joy.

I feel the future is in good hands with children like this, who can feel and act for the good of themselves as well as for the good of their fellow Earthlings, the Collective Earth Body, the re-imagining of the human story so that our arts and sciences are balanced and leading us to wholesome future.

When you unfurl any of the ArtWavEs arrays today, this sense of unconditional love, trust in the intelligence of life, and the giving spirit enters you and anyone else lucky enough to sense it.
Peace Flags Konawaena bubbles

When we are mindful of the body, sensations, feelings, and thoughts, we feel how the paintings are shamanic in Nature. Rather than exhibit painting, it is shamanic painting, where the healing happens guided by a divine spirit and displayed in changing colors, tones, forms, patterns, and ideas that come into play.


ArtWavEs inspires a child’s awareness of a new realm of possibilities. A peace painter’s perspective deepens and enlarges in every facet of life. Their paintings represent the lives that are worth of living, and the subjects of gratitude every morning.
something meaningful to them and that matters to all of us.

“I made a mess with the paint, but I like how it turned out!” said an older girl.

“It’s unique, just like you!” I said. It was corny, I know, but also just plain true.

Feeling gratitude for being unique in a diverse world is more uncommon today than we would hope. Appreciating another’s differences, and staying curious rather than judging them, can begin a new era.


Later, sitting on a bench high above Holualoa Bay as the Kona breeze moved through my hair, Smooth was talking story about his music, youth advocacy, and workshops in schools. We spoke about his indigenous roots in New Zealand with a Maori Samoan mother and an Irish father. I shared some of my grandmother’s Texas Cherokee stories but not how I had come to know the seven sacred chants that came from the stars. We sat in an open-air hale in front of his studio surrounded by ukuleles, keyboards, flutes, amplifers, microphones, and flutes. We spoke about the ways that music, like its sister arts painting, dance, poetry, and song, heals the heart.

“The lyrics I write and the music that I compose are about my journey through the struggles that I myself have conquered,” he said. “It can mend so much that we go through in life.” His nonprofit HEARO Foundation gives kids musical instruments and skills, basically what we are doing with Mindful Painting, except through the melodies and lyrics of his soulful music and slack-key guitar virtuosity.

He wants to support ArtWavEs by auctioning off a guitar, hand-crafted in his shop, that the children paint with original designs.

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On the spot, he commissioned 10 banners on Music and the Ahu’pua’a for his beautiful music compound. There, next summer, we intend to offer an Eco-Arts Camp for Kona youth. A surprise and a real win for all!

As I drove off with a brand new box guitar for the children to design and paint in my backseat, I realized how unexpected it was to receive two commissions in one day. Through partnerships like this with with the HEARO Foundation, more children (and children-at-heart!) will have an opportunity to discover their own artistic lens for healing and regeneration. Intentional creativity is a vital key to shaping our families, communities, and humanity to be capable of the coming changes, what many call a new Golden Age, a Great Awakening.

Your contributions over the last decade have helped thousands of children embrace hope and happiness. We are eternally thankful! I hope these stories inspire you to support Peace Arts workshops happening now through the summer.

We count on your support, which goes 100% to serve children’s arts and nourishment. You – your donations, prayers, and visualizations – are essential to our success! One child, one brushstroke, one choice at a time, peace is the way. Keep the good dreams coming!

Learn more by taking a sneak preview of our new website designed by the magnificent Lara Printz!

What does AWE Do? FUN 90-second video WATCH HERE!



Thank you for giving from your heart and changing Lives! I am grateful for the light that shines in our hearts, even in the darkest times.

Marya & the ArtWavEs Creative Council

Susan Minor, Maureen Langberg, & Lara Printz

Please share far and wide with friends and family!

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