A couple years back, I met a super-cool guy for a story I was writing on a local street-art organization. You could tell John “PRIME” Hina was still high off of the excitement of starting 808 Urban, which aims to keep at-risk kids out of trouble by way of art. And by art, we’re talking huge murals throughout the community. At the time, he not only hoped to revitalize Hawaii but also to change the negative perspective people often have on graffiti.

Six years later, and I’d say he has pretty much accomplished that.

Check out art and music at tomorrow night’s fundraiser, showcasing the works of John “PRIME” Hina and 808 Urban.

808 Urban has since worked closely with countless organizations, public schools and housing projects. I remember our interview very well. It was at Washington Middle School in Honolulu, one hot afternoon. He and the kids worked patiently through the Hawaii heat, as they completed the first few stages of the mural adjacent to the school basketball court. They envisioned flags representing different countries and cultures embodied by the school and pointed to specific areas on the wall, as I filmed for the video story. He hoped to inspire the community to use art as a visual tool in addressing cultural and social issues. A couple weeks later, I remember driving past that wall again, only to find the finished product, and it was exactly as they had envisioned. Amazing work.

For the years following, I have been noticing more and more of his works throughout the island. Visitors have probably seen them as well. One familiar example is the Bruddah IZ and Don Ho mural next to the Wilder Ave. exit going west on the H-1 freeway. A lot of 808 Urban’s work can be seen near the Kakaako district, which has also been experiencing a revitalization of its own, with new shops, fresh ideas and inspirational art.

Next time you’re on the H-1 freeway, look for this mural by 808 Urban.

To celebrate the work of HINA, as he’s called in the community, and 808 Urban, there will be a family-friendly event tomorrow night featuring live music, live painting, improv and a gallery exhibit. Everything will happen along Auahi Street, where you’ll also see a lot of 808 Urban’s art work.

BEHIND THE WALL FUNDRAISING EVENT • Block party celebrating the works of 808 Urban • Tomorrow, Sept. 20, 2012, 6-10pm (Free) • Auahi Street (between Coral and Keawe Streets) • 808-283-3078

Photo Courtesy: 808 Urban Facebook

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