The last thing Noble Richardson imagined for his career was teaching art to kids. While on the mainland to get his BFA, he primarily worked in nightclubs doing security. When he returned to Maui, he knew he wanted to give back to his island home. He set his eyes on Wailuku Elementary and asked his nephew’s kindergarten teacher for permission to paint a rusty storage container on the school grounds. He transformed the eyesore into a mural with help from the entire school.

When the principal Beverly Stanich invited him to teach, he was caught off guard. He never taught art, but she gave him freedom to create a curriculum. Going from wrangling unruly guests to teaching small children happened organically, a kuleana put in his path. He said, “I took my college curriculum and put it in their language as an Uncle for kids from kindergarten to 5th grade.” The connection of being on campus strengthened his art and purpose.

Noble’s art and lessons always include his unique perspective being born and raised in Happy Valley. He says, “We possess a certain fingerprint that we cannot change. We can say something about Hawaii without knowing why, it just happens.” He encourages his students to feel the value of being from Hawaii, even if you’re not specifically “Hawaiian.” “We tend to put the mainland on a pedestal. But we have so much here to embrace.”

He started Endemic Hawaii Artists as a way to share mo’olelo from a local perspective through collaborative permanent murals. His murals can be seen throughout Wailuku Town, Maui Hui Malama, and Restaurant Matsu, as well as numerous private centers such as the Queen Liliuokalani Center and many schools across the entire island. He says, “I see my students walk by these murals and even though you may not know the stories, it may click later in life. It will touch you in different ways as you grow older.”

As his own kids grow, he tests his lessons on them before bringing them to the classroom. He says, “My goal when I got into this was to have fun. The biggest thing I learned from day one is the absolute joy they get from art and they never thought possible. You can really see it in their face. It’s stuck with me.” 

You can see more of Noble’s work at

Read more: Art, Music, Drama, and Dance Winter Class Calendar 2021-22