Back in 1975, when Kevin Mulkern wasn't surfing, he was tending to plants with his fledgling landscaping business. He gradually became more land-bound over the years, and what began with a pickup truck, a few hand tools, and a mower expanded to include a half-acre nursery offering extensive services. Today, Kevin and his wife, Susan, continue to draw upon that expertise to run Mulkern Landscaping and Nursery, spearheading Hawaiian landscaping associations and guilds and racking up a slew of accolades in the process.
The nursery specializes in indigenous Oahu plant life as well as greenery from abroad, including colorful lotus flowers, fragrant water lilies, and more than 20 varieties of bamboo. Landscaping experts can use these blooms and more to plot and install points of interest ranging from general gardens to ponds and waterfalls, granting yards character without the hassle of gluing googly eyes to each flower.
Hui Ku Maoli Ola traces its lineage back to 1999, when friends Rick Barboza and Matt Schirman established the nursery with a mission to preserve and celebrate the distinct flora of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, the company beautifies federal lands, private homes, and retail businesses with more than 100 species of native Hawaiian plants, the descendants of specimens brought from distant shores by ancient Polynesian settlers and very strong wind. The helpful crew tends to rows of waving ferns, shady trees, and flowering bushes as they restore native habitats with professional landscaping or educate students with lectures and field trips.
When educator Nicole Kealoha set out to enrich her community, she harnessed the vibrant power of hip-hop and urban culture to captivate young people. Her nonprofit Diverse Art Center, launched in 2008, seeks to foster connections between youths and the community via enriching and engaging instruction from professional artists. The accomplished teachers and artists—including leading local art figure Shaun Castro and award-winning dancer Josh Skittle—strive to instill positive values and self-esteem in their pupils as they shepherd them through the many mediums that comprise hip-hop culture, including dance, music, and the visual arts. No fewer than five area schools participate in the center's fitness-focused Healthy Hip-Hop program, and daily urban art instruction includes tutorials in hip-hop lettering, break dancing, and beatboxing with inner-city kangaroos.
Frame-Arts Hawaii's staff crafts attractive hangings that serve to protect their contents with such amenities as acid-free mat boards and nonreflective glass. Hundreds of framing choices stack up inside the shop, drawing the eye as soon as it rolls in the door. In addition to framing traditional artwork and photographs, the staff offers services for displaying sports jerseys, mirrors, and collections of autographed Social Security cards.