ct's gallery walk

The ARTS at Marks Garage and
Downtown Gallery Walk and First Friday

Individuals, businesses and nonprofits located in the Chinatown/downtown neighborhood who present art in their establishments, developed the Downtown Gallery Walk Map and First Friday event. This community-based effort includes traditional galleries and museums, however, some participants bring elements of interest and surprise to the mix including cafes, building lobbies, antiques stores and a tattoo parlor. The range of artists and art presented at the venues is also diverse and insightful and includes contemporary western art, multi-ethnic and Hawaiian art, children’s art, retrospective exhibitions, canoes, tattoos and bonsai.

With the leadership of The ARTS at Marks Garage these partners have published a self-guided walking tour and map. An obvious extension of this daily effort to attract visitors is a monthly event. After several months of meetings the group decided to launch First Fridays- a Downtown Gallery Walk. Each participant agrees to stay open late (5pm to 9pm) and provide “value- added” activities that entertain, educate and celebrate art and art making. Exhibition opening receptions, demonstrations and lectures, games and special sales events characterize the activities each month. First Fridays, launched in May of 2003, have grown within our community of arts patrons and is beginning to reach larger audiences. The March 2005 event drew over 1,700 people to the streets of downtown Honolulu.

Recognizing the increased numbers of people on the streets, restaurants and retail businesses in the area are joining the event in an informal way by offering food and beverage specials and hosting their own special events. If a neighborhood establishment has a special event planned for First Friday we will include this information in our monthly press release and schedule of events. We have successfully developed relationships with several businesses to sponsor the printing of our map and continue to work cooperatively to increase visitor traffic to our business and the neighborhood.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and the City and County of Honolulu Product Enrichment program have supported pilot First Friday transportation projects targeted at the Waikiki visitor. They also support the direct payment to artistic talent to provide entertainment in the streets on First Friday. This is intended to help move people throughout the neighborhood streets and to liven up areas that have yet to become lively. The Nuuanu Merchants Association is also contributing financially to this important aspect of supporting artistic endeavors to increase traffic to the neighborhood.

For more information about this project call Kim Coffee-Isaak at 521-2904 or email kim@artsatmarks.com.

Arts Flourish in Chinaton NOHO
(Note: Artmosphere, Havana Cabana, and Mayan are now closed.)

We've mentioned in the past that Nu`uanu, north of Hotel Street, has so many art galleries and trendy clubs that it deserves to be called NoHo. This would put it on the level with SoHo in New York and SoMa (South Market) in San Francisco. And the move toward the arty continues apace. Aside from the longstanding Pegge Hopper and Roy Venters galleries, there's Salon 5, all just mauka of Pauahi. The Arts at Marks Garage on the Diamond Head side of that corner is coming together rapidly, and will feature artists and artisans creating and displaying their works on the spot. A block down Nu'uanu, just into NoHo, is a gallery where the old HPD substation was located, and next to it the stylish Artmosphere. Then comes the Green Room and Indigo, topped at Pauahi by Havana Cabana. Ad across Nu'uanu from that club is yet another art gallery abuilding, Mayan, featuring sculpture. What a rebirth for the street from the old days when it was a Parade of Prostitutes…

by Dave Donnelly, "Hawaii"
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
January 19, 2001

Readers Join Name Game

The item here about NoHo, the term we used to describe Nu'uanu Avenue north of Hotel Street, has garnered attention in many areas. Steve Alm of the U.S. Attorney's office called to say 2000 figures are just in showing that the government's "weed and seed" program, designed to weed out the bad, unsafe element and seed the area with non-threatening businesses, is working wondrously well. The crime rate in Chinatown and the Kalihi-Palama districts was down 75 percent between 1997 and 2000 ... And Hank Taufaasau, whose Hank's Cafe Honolulu is just makai of Hotel Street, doesn't like the fact his place doesn't fit into the arbitrary geographical designation of NoHo, even though he sells more works in Hank's, all his own, than any other gallery in the area. He suggests, as a tribute to its former existence, the district extend makai another block and be called NuKi, Nu'uanu above King ...

by Dave Donnelly, "Hawaii"
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
January 19, 2001

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