POW! WOW! Hawaii expands in Kakaako
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
With 100-plus artists on the streets of Kakaako creating colorful, extravagant wall-sized murals on dozens of buildings, the street-art festival dubbed POW! WOW! Hawaii will be hard to miss this year.
“We’re trying to build an international phenomenon,” says POW! WOW! founder Jasper Wong, an artist who started the fest off with a small 2010 event in Hong Kong.
For 2014, the fest features parties, exhibitions and receptions, artists’ talks and pop-up shops — while plans are in the works to expand the POW! WOW! concept to Portland, Ore., Taiwan and Israel.
The festival moved to Honolulu in 2011 and has grown each year since.
“I’m impressed with the breadth and depth of their programming,” said Maile Meyer, artist and owner of Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii.
POW! WOW! HAWAII
» Where: Various locations, Kakaako
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Meyer volunteered with Pow! Wow! Hawaii in past years, fostering awareness of Native Hawaiian and community issues. This year, she describes herself as a “cheerleader” for the event.
Since last year, the group has slightly altered its name, adding exclamation points to “Pow Wow” to distinguish the title from a reference to native gatherings.
Wong says the point is to be sensitive to members of the community; Meyer said she’s buoyed by the move. In Meyer’s view, Wong “is doing an incredible job mediating between all kinds of different artists and communities.”
Support from Kakaako landowner Kamehameha Schools, which opened up warehouse and office space to the fest’s artists, has helped POW! WOW! Hawaii grow. In late 2012, POW! WOW! settled into Lana Lane Studios, a reclaimed Kakaako warehouse on Kamehameha Schools land.
Organizers also successfully sought grant funding, including $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, which helped cover off-island artists’ transportation and educational programs.
POW! WOW! Hawaii now features art and music events year-round, including educational activities with local youth.
And ever more artists express interest in participating. Wong says the festival has “jumped the neighborhood” in Kakaako.
“We just can’t fit any more artists” in the neighborhood, Honolulu artist Kamea Hadar, a co-founder, said over lunch with Wong and a reporter at Kakaako’s Insomnia cafe.
In their view, POW! WOW! has to grow into additional cities to accommodate the interest and demand for this kind of art.
Along the way, the founders hope to build a “global brand” out of the POW! WOW! concept.
“We have to do it,” Hadar said. “A major part of POW! WOW! is trying to expose local art to a global audience and market.”
Wong pitched in: “At the same time, it’s to get young people interested in creating works.
“We have three major goals: beautifying, connecting and educating.
“When people study the art and culture of places, they think culture just happens — but you have to work to create culture,” Wong said. “We’re trying to build an industry around local art and artists, and we’re trying to be a more well-rounded arts organization.”
POW! WOW! HAWAII 2014
TODAY, 6 P.M.-2 A.M.
“The Do-Over,” Fresh Cafe Downtown, 1121 Nuuanu Ave. Free. Ages 21+.
A Los Angeles party crew including DJs Haycock and Strong and “an all-star mystery lineup” present a Pow! Wow! Hawaii kickoff event sponsored by the Red Bull Music Academy. Free.
SATURDAY, 6-10 P.M.
“Exploring the New Contemporary Art Movement,” Linekona Gallery, Honolulu Museum of Art School, 111 Victoria St.
This opening exhibit and reception provides an introduction to artists involved with Pow! Wow! Hawaii, with live painting and music from DJs Anton Glam, Osna, MassFunk and Packo. Exhibit continues through Feb. 15.
MONDAY TO FEB. 15
Mural Painting/Pop-Up Shops
Check the map at powwowhawaii.com for locations between Ala Moana Boulevard (makai) and Kawaiahao Street (mauka), Keawe Street (facing Ewa) to Kamani Street (Diamond Head), or just cruise Kakaako — with 100-plus artists, painters won’t be hard to find.
Painting usually gets started by 11 a.m. and goes on until dark, or beyond. The first round of assigned murals will be largely completed by Wednesday; artists will then combine to work on spontaneous collaborations. Art will stay up on the walls indefinitely, but not permanently.
Pop-up shops and exhibitions at Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen St., and Lana Lane Studios, POW! WOW! Hawaii’s central site in the Lana Lane alley at Auahi Street, will also open, displaying POW! WOW! Hawaii-related art and collectibles.
MONDAY, FEB. 10, 7:30 P.M.
“The Legend of Cool Disco Dan” Screening, Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Museum (entrance at 901 Kinau St.). Free, as are all Pow! Wow! Hawaii events.
Punk legend Henry Rollins narrates this documentary about “Disco” Dan, a Washington, D.C., graffiti legend in the ’80s. Executive Producer Roger Gastman will introduce the film, with a Q-and-A to follow.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12, 6-8 P.M.
POW! WOW! Art and Media Lecture, Fresh Cafe and Loft in Space, 831 Queen St. Free, all ages.
» Artist/puppeteer Wayne White, a first-time contributor to Pow! Wow! and one of the originals who created the colorful children’s TV program “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”; White was the subject of the 2012 documentary “Beauty is Embarrassing.”
» Anna Waclawek, a professor at Concordia University in Montreal, authored the 2011 book “Graffiti and Street Art” (Thames & Hudson).
» Martha Cooper, an American photojournalist best known for documenting the New York City graffiti scene of the 1970s and 1980s.
» Lady Aiko, a Tokyo-born, New York City-based artist whose work was featured in the The Japan Society’s 2013 exhibition, “Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints.”
THURSDAY, FEB. 13, 6-8 P.M.
POW! WOW! Music Lecture, Fresh Cafe and Loft in Space, 831 Queen St. Free, all ages.
Participants: DJs, producers, musicians TBA.
» Trent Clark. senior editor, Hip-Hop Wired
» Roslynn Cobarrubias, radio host and founder of the Third Floor Network
» Anton Glamb, Honolulu producer/DJ
» James “Mr JPatt” Patterson, half of electronic music duo The Knocks
» Petar Kujundzic, managing editor, Hypetrak
FRIDAY, FEB. 14, 6-8 P.M.
1XRun and Pangea Seed Print and Custom Toy Exhibition, Fresh Cafe and Loft in Space, 831 Queen St. Free, all ages.
As the week of live art draws to a close, another party highlights art and collectibles.
SATURDAY, FEB. 15, 6 P.M.-MIDNIGHT
POW! WOW! Finale Block Party, Auahi Street. Free, all ages.
The party marking POW! WOW! Hawaii’s grand art reveal will feature live art, food and drink, DJs and live music from The Green, Paula Fuga and ALT/AIR.
SATURDAY, FEB. 15, MIDNIGHT-4 A.M.
POW! WOW! Afterparty, M Nightclub, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. No cover.
Special guest DJs provide the music; POW! WOW! artists and guests do the dancing.
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