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The Conversation: Looking to Chinatown's Future

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The City's stewardship of Chinatown

Mayor Rick Blangiardi pulled Anton Krucky, co-founder of Tissue Genesis, out of retirement in order serve as the Executive Director of the Office of Housing. In his new role, Krucky is looking at how the City can be a better steward of Chinatown. He's attended a Downtown Chinatown Neighborhood Board meeting and has spoken with residents, business owners, and City department heads about how best to move forward.

LISTEN: Anton Krucky, Executive Director of the Office of Housing

Longtime Chinatown resident shares concerns, hopes for future

Although Anton Krucky of the Honolulu Office of Housing promises change, some residents and businesses owners in Chinatown are tired of waiting for the City's help. Oren Schlieman, owner of the Chinatown brand marketing firm Info Grafik, created the website Chinatown Watch, where citizens can post photos and videos of illicit behavior that they witness. Schlieman specifies that his website is not a substitute for calling the police, and it is only one small part of a strategy for revitalization.

Oren Schlieman, President and Creative Director of Info Grafik

Downtown developments

Credit Noe Tanigawa / Hawaii Public Radio
Hawaii Public Radio
Shot of “Kai Nu’u o Kanaloa” installation in Central Pacific Bank’s lobby. The kinetic light bars move in response to buoys off O'ahu’s North Shore.


The pandemic has hit Chinatown hard. But real estate expert Andy Friedlander with Colliers International sees some bright spots in Downtown, starting on Alakea St. He takes Noe Tanigawa on a virtual tour of upcoming developments.

Real estate expert Andy Friedlander

New design studio opens on Nu'uanu

Credit Noe Tanigawa / Hawaii Public Radio
Hawaii Public Radio
Roberta Oaks in front her new store at Nu'uanu and Pauahi.

Did you know that Nu'uanu Ave is the center of town? Our major streets, like Beretania and King, are numbered North and South relative to Nu'uanu. This essential thoroughfare is also home to several art hubs, including its newest addition, designer Roberta Oaks' store. Oaks spoke with Noe Tanigawa about opening a brick-and-mortar location during the pandemic, as well as the inspiration for her designs.
Roberta Oaks

Designer Roberta Oaks

Highlights from the Hawaii Art Summit

At the recent Hawaii Contemporary Art Summit '21, Representative Matt LoPresti of Ewa District 41 took a moment to recognize internationally acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei for his contribution to the upcoming Hawai'i Triennial 2022. Rep. LoPresti taught philosophy at the university level before assuming elected office, and we share a clip of his insights on Ai Weiwei's work from his speech at the Summit.

Rep. Matt LoPresto

In ourlast Aloha Friday conversation, we spoke with curator Drew Broderick on his recommendations for the Art Summit. Today, we share part of a conversation between Broderick and photographers Mark Hamasaki and Kapulani Landgraf, who collaborate under the moniker Piliamo'o. They documented the Ko'olau landscape during the construction of the H-3 freeway. Listen to how their work is shaped, from the first decision of what camera to use.


Lastly, Hawai'i Triennial head curator Melissa Chiu interviews Chicago artist and social innovator Theaster Gates. Gates discusses how his ceramics practices radiates out to impact those around him. Listen to Gates' interview, as well as those we sampled above, in full here.

Artist and professor Theaster Gates

New album explores Hawaiian and Filipino cultural intersection

Credit Mele.com
K?wili cover art

K?wili is a new album that blend Hawaiian and Filipino influences. It's the passion project of Maui attorney Lance Collins, whose mother is Filipino. In addition to spending time with his family in the Philippines, Collins has a Ph.D in Philippine folktales and contemporary cinema.  This project also tapped the skills of musicians Zach and Nicholas Lum from the group Keauhou.

Maui attorney and producer Lance Collins



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