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Hanapepe town on Kauai is an old plantation town turned artist colony. Once, Chinese farmers cultivated the rich Hawaii soil and small-scale stores sprung up to supply them. Now weathered store fronts hold beautiful works of original art by local artists. To celebrate art and each other, Hanapepe brings folks together on Friday nights through Art Night. The quaint shops, art galleries and cafes stay open late while musicians play in the streets.
Local musicians play outside the bookstore in Hanapepe, Kauai.
Lights dangle from store front windows as music floats on the cool trade winds, mixing with the scent of pizza and tacos from nearby food trucks.
Strolling down the narrow sidewalk we duck into a small gallery and chat with the artist. Her medium is oil, her paintings depict Hawaiian life. Soft earth tones and brush strokes capture the beauty of the Na Pali coast, the sensuality of hula, the strength of a young man paddling an outrigger canoe.
Looking at the outside menu for Hanapepe Cafe and Bakery, a woman brushes past and exclaims “You really must try it, the atmosphere, the food, the service, it’s exquisite, just exquisite.” We have eaten, but file the information away.
Making our way down the street we are amazed at how many galleries and stores there are. A beautiful wall sized photograph of the ocean catches our eye and lures us into the shop. We are stunned at the enormous photographs and the simple beauty they contain. Close ups of banana flowers and lilies give us an intimate connection to what it’s like being a flower, their insides so easily visible on the large canvass. The quiet and powerful beauty of sunrise on the Pacific ocean fills us with tranquility, so lifelike we can hear the pounding surf.
Christina is in awe over Arius Hopman’s photographs of Hawaii.
A dusty and tattered mom and pop bookstore brims with books spilling off the shelves and arranged in no real order. It brings out the book worm in our friend so we take a seat outside and watch the musicians, children laughing and dancing to their melodic music.
Making our way to the car, the creative energy is palpable. As people pass, we hear snippets of animated conversation. It seems Art Night has enlivened our spirits, inspired us to be more creative and hopeful.
Photos by Dan Lane