The Conversation: Saving and Celebrating Honolulu's Art Scene

Oct 16, 2020

Funding relief for Honolulu arts and culture; Hawaii Craftsmen debut Downtown Arts Center; Honolulu Museum of Art reopens; Book and music festival tackles big issues; Addressing Hawaii's housing issues; Interview with Na Hoku Song of the Year producer

Funding relief for Honolulu arts and culture

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced this week $10 million in COVID aid for artists and cultural organizations. It will pay out in two tiers - for businesses doing more than or less than $1 million a year in revenue. Kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine explains who and what the money is for, and Misty Kelai‘i, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts, tells us more. Click here to apply for the Culture and Arts Relief and Recovery Fund.


Hawaii Craftsmen debut Downtown Arts Center

Hundreds of artists across Hawaii have been finishing stitches, firing kilns, burnishing, buffing, photographing, and filling out forms for the 2020 Hawaii Craftsmen show. Normally, it's a biggie, the state's largest statewide juried exhibition. This year, it's the debut exhibition in the new Downtown Arts Center. Chris Edwards is chair of the exhibition and we had to check the space out. The hard part is finding the Downtown Art Center. On the second floor of the pink fortress that is Chinatown Gateway Plaza. But once you get into the space, it opens up! The exhibition runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 14, and is free and open to the public. Click here to find out more information. 

Honolulu Museum of Art reopens

It's Pau Hana Friday at the Honolulu Museum of Art tonight. That means free admission to the museum. In fact, every Friday night through December. Last week, Noe Tanigawa visited the museum with a family pod of three, plus two friends. You have to book your time in advance, get your temperature checked, wear a mask and shield if you like. They agreed wandering the galleries is a pleasure indeed. Halona Norton-Westbrook is the director of the Honolulu Museum of Art and tells us more about the reopening. Click here to learn more about visiting the museum.

Book and music festival tackles big issues

The Hawaii Book and Music Festival has moved from May to October. That's a big change, and there's more. A partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa that seems a natural evolution. We hear more from David DeLuca, publishing director at Bess Pess, owner of Da Shop bookstore, chair of the board of the Hawaii Book and Music Festival, and a board member at Hawaii Public Radio. Click here to view the schedule for the virtual festival, which runs through Nov. 4.

Hope Services
Credit Hope Services/Facebook

Addressing Hawaii's housing issues

Earlier this month, the University of Hawaii Economic Research organization (UHERO) interviewed almost 300 landlords and property managers. They found that about 11,000 Hawaii families are behind in rent. There is an eviction moratorium until the end of the year, but that is just two months away. We talkd with Brandee Menino of Hope Services on Hawaii Island. They and five partners are managing to deploy a million dollars worth of federal housing aid on their island every week. We also talk to Jeff Gilbreath, director of lending and development at Hawai‘i Community Lending, a statewide housing assistance program. We ask him, what is the need you see?

Interview with Na Hoku Song of the Year producer

This year's Na Hoku Hanohano Song of the Year is Ku Ha‘aheo e Ku‘u Hawai‘i, performed by over three dozen of Hawai‘i's finest musicians. It's a project by Hawaiian educational content creator, Kanaeokana. Ryan "Gonzo" Gonzales is a digital artist, musician and director/producer with Kanaeokana. He'll explain how this performance of Ku Ha‘aheo emerged to win Song of the Year and Hawaiian Music Video of the Year. Gonzo says the project is rooted in the way Kanaeokana is organized.

Arts and Ideas

Hawai‘i's Wood Show 2020 opens Oct. 25 in a new venue. Hawai‘i Opera Theatre Plaza, former Robyn Buntin Gallery on Beretania St. This show is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Foresty Industry Association, so expect breathtaking wood from Hawaiian forests. In the past, there hae been bowls, calabashes, full desks, intricate treasure boxes, featuring the silky, glowing premier woods from our Islands. Click here for more info on the event, which runs from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7.

Hawaii's Woodshow 2020
Credit woodshow.hawaiiforest.org

The new Arts and Letters Building is opening its doors in the former Pegge Hopper space on Nu‘uanu. The show? Aloha Friends and Neighbors: Photographs from Hawai‘i Island 1968-74 by the one and only Franco Salmoiraghi. Guaranteed heart opening exercises here. Show opens Oct. 21. Click here for more information.

What is fun, free, and safe tonight? UH Outreach College's Concert series, which has been terrific. Jeff Peterson, Benny Chong, Ian O'Sullivan and Nathan Aweau - guitar, ukulele, bass, vocals with agile, inventive, and accomplished artists. Concert starts at 7 p.m. You'll to register in advance for these Outreach College SCEP concerts; click here to do that.