First Friday Artwalk in Oahu
February 22, 2019
Who doesn’t love artwalks? The residents of the apartments in Honolulu can certainly appreciate the fine work of skilled artists, and First Fridays in Honolulu’s Chinatown will be the perfect place to soak in the wonder of some great art at a leisurely pace:
“Come join us for the most exciting event to hit downtown Honolulu on the first Friday of every month! Chinatown is the place to be if you want to join the hip crowds at the many unique galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants that feature exciting art exhibits and free entertainment.”
What are these First Friday Artwalks all about, you may be wondering? That’s exactly what we’re going to be taking a look at today, as we explore the finer details of the artwalk and fill you in on everything you need to know to head to Chinatown and have a great time.
Breaking Down First Fridays
The concept of an artwalk isn’t too difficult to grasp. Artspaces, museums, and galleries have plenty of works on display, and you, the artwalk guests, get to wander from location to location during set times to view the art and perhaps even purchase piece or two for yourself. Typically, restaurants, bars, and shops will get in on the action, providing food, drinks, and discounts so you can enjoy the experience even more. It’s a great way to get out the house and have some fun (on a Friday, in this case) and it’s great whether you’re taking a date or flying solo.
First Friday’s in Honolulu follows a similar format, and when the events kick off, you can consult the helpful interactive map to locate which establishments are participating and navigate your way through all of the action. Speaking generally, though, there are dozens of local galleries, museums, associations, and individual artists who are normally in on the game, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight some of the most prominent actors in this event for you.
Speaking first of the galleries and museums, amazing Hawaiian cultural institutions like the Hawaii State Art Museum are frequent First Friday participants. Located on South Hotel Street, this collection is the “largest and finest “ in the state, featuring the works of Hawaiian natives that “celebrate the diverse artistic and cultural legacy” of the islands.
Smaller galleries play a big part in the artwalks too, mind you, and the Louis Pohl Gallery on Bethel Street serves as a sterling example of this fact. You’ll typically find a lot of foot traffic here, as patrons tour the top tier talent of Hawaii’s greatest and most creative minds, all of whom have so generously put their skillfully executed art on display for the masses.
Galleries and museums can’t take all the credit for extending the reach of artists and helping to mold their development. There are also dedicated art spaces, like the Chinatown Artist’s Loft, that play a substantial role in that process. Located in the Mendonca Building Courtyard on Smith Street, this space is the brainchild of Rich Richardson with The Arts at Marks Garage and HAPA (in conjunction with the building owners, Ernie and Jodee Hunt), and provides an open space for both studio and performing artists to ply their trade. It’s been going strong since 2010, and has units for artists to both live and work amongst one another, increasing their opportunities for collaboration and letting their creativity flow completely unbound.
As far as associations are concerned, there’s one that deserves a special nod — the Association of Hawaii Artists (AHA). It’s one of the oldest and most respected organizations of artists in Hawaii, having been established in 1926, and even after nine decades in existence, they’re still going strong. The association is dedicated to showcasing the diversity and craftsmanship of Hawaii’s art community, of which there are many members:
“Hawaii has a high percentage of the population that characterizes themselves as practicing Artists. Some artist members are professional artists, others practice art as an avocation and serious interest, and some are beginning artists and students.”
You might even consider signing up yourself, if you’re artistically inclined. You can take a look at their membership form here, and know that they consider themselves an accessible organization, making room for artists across all mediums and of varying skill levels.
Then there are groups like the Windward Artists Guild, founded in 1960 to help encourage artists to continue their craft and promote personal expression through visual media. They continue this mission today, and also help fund the education of new generations of artists through various charities and grants. You can think of it like planting the seeds that will blossom into amazing works of art for the future — our children — to enjoy just as we do.
Of course, we can’t skip over the many dedicated artists who help make the artwalk, and Hawaii’s art community at large, so fantastic. There are a great many, and while it’d be impossible to mention them all here, you can take a peek at First Friday Honolulu’s list of featured artists to get an idea of the diversity and dedication present among the varied artists in the state:
“Hawaii is home to a great number of creative local artists. From abstract to contemporary artists, colorists, digital artists, sculptors, photographers, jewelry designers and other artists, the pool of talent here is definitely thriving and abundant.”
Photography, painting, printmaking, illustration — all these disciplines, and many more, are practiced by Hawaii’s artists. First Fridays will be your opportunity to see a bit of what they’ve been working on, and to be amazed by their otherworldly talent.
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