Take a stroll through the the Kakaako district – between downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Shopping Center – and you will be amazed by its wonderful transformation. Gone are the days of drab, mono-colored buildings and warehouses that once made up most of this urban area. Today, Kakaako has been splashed with a wave of color – lots and lots of color!
Through a collaborative effort, Hawaii’s art community has been sprucing up the district over the past five years. They get together for one week and whip up wall-size murals and street art that not only add color to the scene but also convey messages of sorts – whether political, cultural or ? There’s a meaning to be discovered, for sure. People walking through Kakaako cannot help but notice the urban canvas; their eyes wander up and down, side to side. But to really take it all in, I would suggest crossing the street for a full panoramic view.
If you happen to be in town while these artists are hard at work, then consider yourself lucky! Observing the mural as a finished piece can be really cool, but there is really nothing like watching it go up live. The week-long festivities in February, called POW! WOW! Hawaii, attracts all walks of life to its events and activities. Artists, art-minded individuals and those just looking for something “off-the-beaten-path” find themselves admiring the artists and their work.
In addition to murals and street art, POW! WOW! Hawaii hosts a number of art lectures, music, gallery shows and live instillations. This year, the event wrapped up with a block party and paired up with the monthly Honolulu Night Market, also held in that district. That meant two city blocks near Auahi Street featuring live art and music – free to the public.
POW! WOW! actually started several years ago in Hong Kong, as away to put the life back into urban cities. Hawaii’s version of the concept came not long after with more involvement from the community. I really love what they have been doing and hope that POW! WOW! can continue its efforts in Hawaii. Along with the aesthetic revitalization of Kakaako came more local businesses as well, like coffee shops and small clothing boutiques. So there can only be more good stuff ahead!