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Arts and culture lovers have plenty to do this First Friday in downtown Honolulu

Lauren Hana Chai art
Lauren Hana Chai
"The Little Death 1," oil and enamel on canvas, by Lauren Hana Chai. She’s showing at Bas Bookshop with Ashley Ryan Wells.

Arts and culture lovers will find plenty to like Friday night during the First Friday of February 2022. Masks are required, temperatures will be checked, but there is a range of family friendly activities planned within walking distance in downtown Honolulu.

HPR's Noe Tanigawa - Feb. 4, 2022
The Conversation

If you missed seeing lion dancers for Chinese New Year, you can still catch them Friday at 5 p.m. outside Marks Garage on Nuʻuanu Avenue.

On this First Friday of the new year, across the street, Bas Bookshop shows a vibrant collaboration by Lauren Hana Chai and Ashley Ryan Wells. You'll see eye-grabbing paintings and quiet adobe miniature interiors, as well as their sculptural collaborations.

At Arts and Letters, pivotal images from the mid 1970s to ʻ80s. Photographer Franco Salmoiraghi captured personal moments as the Protect Kahoʻolawe Ohana first struggled to reclaim that island, a struggle that echoes today.

At the Downtown Art Center, it’s the last full weekend for Architects as Artists, up through Feb. 12.

Cecily Wang, intensivist From first responders show at Marks.
From first responders show at Marks, intensivist Cecily Wang

Families and friends will be gathering at The ARTS at Marks Garage to celebrate “With heART for Our First Responders,” an exhibition of work by doctors, nurses, police, and other members of Hawaiʻi's care community.

Elizabeth O'Brien is director of audience relations at Hawaiʻi Theatre and a volunteer at Marks.

"What surprised me is how many of our first responders are artists. That they had the time to do this. Look around, everything in here takes time and it takes energy, and some of them are working 14, 16 hours a day, seven days a week and they still managed to find time to create," O'Brien said.

There are works out of sea glass, kukui shells, paint, charcoal, photographs. O’Brien says the show is a big mahalo to the artists, and an education for viewers.

A sample of work by Zach Angeles HiSAM
Zach Angeles
A sample of work by Zach Angeles. His installation "Shelter" opens Friday at HiSAM in the Mirror Room. It will be open Monday, Friday and Saturday, 12 - 4 or by appointment.

"Sometimes we see them as their jobs, and we forget that they're people. This brings back the human element to them," she told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

In perhaps the best use of The ARTS at Marks front windows ever, drag queens, burlesque girls, and go-go Boys offer "A Window Shopping Experience” at 9 p.m.

For a fresh new year vibe, do not miss First Friday at HiSAM, the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum. The galleries are closed but Saumolia Puapuaga shows new work in the lobby attached from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

You can also enjoy dance activations in the sculpture garden, and Zach Angeles has created an otherworldly Shelter, an immersive installation in the HiSAM mirror room. Registration is required. Go to to select a time. The "Shelter" exhibit will be open Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 4, through February.

It's all free and open to the public, proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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