Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reports by Noe Tanigawa

honolulu museum of art

After a national search lasting nearly a year, the Honolulu Museum of Art has selected a new director. Hālona Norton-Westbrook is currently director of curatorial affairs at Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Norton-Westbrook recently talked about the Honolulu museum’s size, quality collection, and connection to the community as key assets. 

Francis Haar/UH Manoa

Black and white photographs are offering a glimpse into Honolulu’s colorful past, at UH Mānoa’s John Young Museum. The A‘ala Park area on the west end of Honolulu was once bustling around its train station, but by the 1960’s decay had set in, and redevelopment was on the way. That’s when photographer Francis Haar decided to document the changes.

Wikimedia Commons

Some very high tides are expected later this month, Nov. 25 to Nov. 28. Hawai‘i’s last "king tide" event happened at the end of July. Combined with a freak south swell, ocean levels rose over three feet and reached their highest point of the year so far. One water expert explains how Honolulu will cope with rising sea levels.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Kaka‘ako Makai’s sidewalks are cleared of campers now, but where have they all gone? And, O‘ahu’s homeless youth just got $3.8 million from HUD for programs homeless youth will help develop. 

Honolulu Museum of Art

Beginning in the Tang dynasty over a thousand years ago, Chinese landscape painting was seen as a way for cultured people to commune with nature. The exhibition now at the Honolulu Museum of Art is solidly a part of that tradition, but, according to the show’s curator, these paintings say more about the present, than the past. Li Huayi’s huge ink paintings plunge you into a non-rational world.

Ferraro Choi Architects

New help has arrived for Hawaii’s next wave of creative and technology start ups. It’s the new Entrepreneurs Sandbox: a community co-working, event and maker space in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kaka’ako.  The state and major business partners are investing in a combination of creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Across Honolulu, storefront galleries have been disappearing, and exhibition venues are becoming rare, but you’re more likely to see art on the street or in a bar. With changes underway in Honolulu’s arts infrastructure, the role of the City could be crucial.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Maui is famous for its beaches and other natural features, and in the old days, Maui people really knew the land they lived on. Now, a project to collect the songs of West Maui has uncovered a treasure trove of cultural and environmental knowledge embedded in music.  A new project is bringing the old songs back to life as a book, an album, and a concert.

After a big weekend on Maui, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is wrapping up in Honolulu this week. The annual event raises money for agriculture and culinary projects across the state, and organizers say they’ve raised nearly two and a half million dollars since they started eight years ago. It’s a lot of work, and much of it is volunteer, but workers include students who see their future in the field.

Chip Fletcher
Chip Fletcher

A hardy band of UH faculty and state and county officials is just back from a learning trip to U.S. East Coast cities that are wrestling with climate change. This week’s Future Focus conference brought academic, business, and government leaders together to collaborate on climate adaptation.

Hawaii Sketch Comedy Festival

Styles of comedy have changed over the years, and the best of it continues to touch on things we all have in common, living in Hawai‘i. Still, connections outside the islands are changing the style and content of local comedy and the Hawai‘i Sketch Comedy Festival this weekend will show case some of what’s out there now.

Kaua‘i artist Sally French is quietly taking care of business in Kalāheo, on the Garden Isle. Painting and drawing is what it’s all about for French, and a tour through her show in Honolulu is a lot like a visit to her studio.

Oahu Community Correction Center
Oahu Community Correction Center

Hawai‘i is seen as a multicultural model around the world, but how did that reputation start?  In his new book, an expert on race says the idea was publicized as part of the backdrop to an explosive trial that rocked Honolulu in 1928. Myles Fukunaga was sentenced to hang for kidnapping and murder on this day, ninety-one years ago.

Donkey Mill Art Center in Hōlualoa, on the Kona side of Hawai‘i island, is showing new takes on a familiar subject: books. Digital media has freed the book arts to be just about anything humans want to see and touch.

Noe Tanigawa

Hawaiian language theater is one way to experience advances in historical and cultural knowledge about the past. It's a story that many local scholars have lived through.

There are shifts underway in Hawai‘i’s art scene, both in Honolulu and on the neighbor islands.  As part of a series charting our arts infrastructure, HPR is checking in with key players.  Today, a visit to the East- West Center Gallery, whose curator is leaving after fifteen years.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Millions of people around the world are taking part in the Global Climate Strike. It’s been organized by international networks of young people, and young people in Hawai‘i are right on top of it. 

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Continuing our look at Hawai‘i’s arts infrastructure, there are changes at UH Mānoa.  Three key exhibition spaces on campus are under new leadership, and after 13 years, the Art Department has a new chairperson as well.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Final interviews are wrapping up today for the next director of the Honolulu Museum of Art. But that’s just part of the change underway in the infrastructure of Hawaii’s art world. In the UH system, there are new gallery directors at KCC and on the Mānoa campus. There are changes too, at the State Art Museum, HiSAM, and at the State Foundation.

Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Poet, novelist R. Zamora Linmark is kicking off a national tour for his latest novel tonight in Honolulu. Harvard, Columbia, and other schools have booked him for presentations based largely on his last two novels, which present insightful and rollicking images of both Filipinos, and sexual awakening. Linmark’s latest novel is a departure in many ways.

Arts at Marks
Arts at Marks

The Arts at Marks Garage became an immediate fixture in Chinatown after it opened in 2001, mostly because there is nothing else like it.  The Arts shows everything from edgy performance pieces to youth poetry and watercolors.  It is also a shared office, and a satellite for the Friends of the Library. Now, the Arts at Marks is taking a hard look at its prospects in Chinatown.

GoFarms Hawaii
GoFarms Hawaii

After a month of sweltering temperatures, August closed with a record 95 degrees in Honolulu on Saturday. As local residents make more and more adjustments for the heat, the United Nations Climate Commission has concluded that simple changes in land use would help resolve global warming. In this edition of Planet808, climate expert Chip Fletcher says, Hawai‘i could lead on this. The new UN findings dovetail with initiatives already taking root in Hawai‘i.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

A new play opening in Honolulu links history, family, culture, and modern life in Hawai‘i.  It’s the final episode in a trilogy that started 25 years ago, and has made some waves along the way.  The author agreed to an interview in Kakaako park, well aware that many of the issues dealt with in the play come to a head in the park daily.

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa / Hawai'i Public Radio

Artist, designer Pegge Hopper has helped shape the world’s view of Hawai‘i.  Her most famous paintings feature cool, design centered compositions of women, mostly Hawaiian women, and large areas of flat color.   At 84 years old, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports, Hopper is selling her gallery on Nu‘uanu and starting a new life.

National Park Service

Each year, an estimated 500 to 600 wildfires sweep across parts of Oahu. But those fires are different than the ones that burn on the mainland, and in many ways, the charred fields are just the beginning of the problem. 

Stephen Lang

Though not in the news every day, the 2018 Kīlauea eruption continues to reverberate in people’s lives. Currently, at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center, an artist’s experience of total devastation has given rise to an installation that reflects on roots.

If you’re looking for a different place to shop and eat in Honolulu, ‘Ohana Hale Marketplace might interest you.  The Marketplace is basically street stalls in air conditioning, and more than fifty of the stalls are food vendors, inside the former Sports Authority on Ward Avenue. New shuttles from Waikīkī should improve traffic for the hopeful entrepreneurs.

Jay Freestyle

This weekend, organizers expect about ten thousand people will attend the 8th annual Pacific Ink and Art Expo in Honolulu. More than 450 tattoo artists will be plying their trade. Why do some of these artists have more than three million followers on social media?

Maryanne ito

Singer, songwriter Maryanne Ito is a single mother of two, and she was serious about her full time insurance career, when her debut album reached #4 on the U.K. Soul Chart. That was 2014. Five years later, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports the Hawai‘i-based singer is back from a smash tour of Japan, and ready to release her latest album.

Maui Fire Department
Maui Fire Department

Last year, a spark from a hammer was enough to ignite dry grass, and contribute to the largest wildfire in California history. All across the Western U.S., firefighters are wondering what might lie ahead this season. Here in the Islands, thousands evacuated earlier this month as a wildfire tore through central Maui.  In this edition of Planet808, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa looks at Hawai‘i’s increasing risk for wildfires.

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