Traditional Hawaiian Dancers from PA'I Foundation

Building a Virtual Bridge

In the coming weeks, Artspace and the PA’I Foundation expect to secure a site in Honolulu for the development of a mixed-use, traditional Hawaiian cultural center with classroom space; space for teaching and performing Hula, music, and other traditional practices; and potentially 70+ units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families.

While continuing to address these physical space issues, Artspace and PA’I are also exploring how to utilize distance learning technology to create cultural bridges across the Hawaiian islands and back to the continental USA.  And, why not: around the world!

This training program is based out of Artspace’s Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in Minneapolis, which has used real-time video conferencing technology over the past 8 years to reach students across Minnesota, especially in more remote corners of the state where arts education has been largely stripped from the curriculum. The Cowles currently offers more than 20 different dance programs via video conferencing, including Argentine Tango, Ballet, African Dance & Music, Hip Hop, Latin Social Dance, Mexcian Hat Dance, Native American Dance, Middle East Dance, Journey to India … the list goes on and on, creating a unique connection between students in greater Minnesota and artists and artistic traditions from across the globe.

As a part of the training program, funded by the Ford Foundation, PA‘I will partner with First Peoples Fund in South Dakota to create an “Artist in Business Leadership” program to cultivate the work of local native artists.  Additionally, PA’I (Honolulu) and First Peoples Fund (Pine Ridge, SD) are working with Youth Speaks (San Francisco) to develop a distance learning spoken word program with will connect Native Hawaiian youth with Native American youth on the Northern Plains. Other partners in the initiative include La MaMa (New York City), Ashe Cultural Arts Center (New Orleans), NALAC (the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture; San Antonio), and Pregones Theater (Bronx, NY).

This exploration helps open the possibility that the future Hawaiian cultural center will not just be deeply connected with its host community, but also in sustained dialogue with artists and cultural organizations across the country.

In our blog next month, we hope to report on securing a site for property development! Stay tuned.

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