Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Free creative lab for keiki opens in Kakaʻako

Vivistop
Keiko Hirano
/
Vivistop Honolulu

A free creative space that launched last month in Kakaʻako allows children aged 10 through 17 to express themselves and dive into new projects.

At Vivistop Honolulu, there are areas to dance, sew, make digital art, cook — whatever venture the child sets their mind to.

Vivistop
Zoe Dym
/
HPR

Keiko Hirano first had the idea to make a creative space for keiki while teaching voice lessons.

"I was just providing like a regular lesson, like a vocal lesson, and then they started getting bored," Hirano said. "Just taking lessons, it’s important but it’s not really exciting or inspiring. So I started to think I need to make a really exciting place where kids can get so many inspirations."

Hirano reached out to Vivita — a company from Japan that creates makerspaces for children. The company is funded by the Japanese investment company Mistletoe.

Vivistop
Zoe Dym
/
HPR

When users enter the space, they first see a large boombox. Inside the boombox is a recording studio.

The space at 1025 Waimanu St. has no set curriculum or teachers.

"There are mentors, but you can help inspire yourself and teach yourself along the way," said Elijah Gamboa. A 13-year-old trial member at Vivistop, Gamboa has shown the most interest in the recording studio and laser cutting.

Ade Ogunniyi, one of the mentors at Vivistop Honolulu, was an engineer and taught design at schools prior to joining Vivita. As a student and teacher, she found schools to be too rigid. Now she works full-time at Vivistop Honolulu and prefers the fluidity.

Vivistop stickers
Zoe Dym
/
HPR
Stickers made by Vivistop Honolulu trial members.

Minato Hirano, another 13-year-old trial member at Vivistop Honolulu said, "I don’t feel like I’m restricted to only doing one thing here. And every time I come here and I wanna make something, I’m always excited and inspired."

Although it is free, Vivistop requires a three-month trial period. Children must complete eight out of 12 trial activities within three months to prove their commitment.

"We also see if the kids are a danger to themselves, other kids, other mentors, the machines that we have here," explained Seiya Yoshida, the co-founder of Vivistop Honolulu. "Once they are accepted as membership, then they go through registration and then become a member and they’re able to use the space as freely as they like."

Yoshida says if Vivistop Honolulu is successful, he hopes to expand to the Leeward Oʻahu to meet the needs of keiki living outside of town.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Related Stories