HAWAII_APR

The importance of place

Based on feedback from Hawaiian artists, PA‘I Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian cultural tradition for future generations, and Artspace Projects, whose mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations, are partnering to create a mixed-use arts facility in Honolulu.

The project will provide 70+ affordable housing units for artists and their families and, like all Artspace projects; this building will be multi-ethnic, multi-disciplined and multi-generational. The ground floor will provide space for a native Hawaiian cultural center with classroom space, space for teaching and performing Hula, music and other traditional practices, as well as space for artistic and cultural activities and organizations that reflect other traditions.

Artspace Regional Director Cathryn Vandenbrink shares thoughts on some keys to creative placemaking:

“It is difficult to put into words the placemaking process – it is so ingrained in how we work in communities. It is important to note that Artspace only begins working in a community after being invited by the community. From our first visit we are engaging with artists, community organizations, city planners and foundations who are already working to bring positive change to their communities.

“Artspace continues to engage with the community throughout the development process through one-on-one meetings with individual stakeholders and larger public meetings with community organizations, individuals and civic leaders. We are always asking the questions: What do you need? What existing strengths can we build on? How can we build bridges, make connections and create partnerships to achieve identified placemaking goals?

“In Hawai‘i we are learning from Vicky Takamine, Executive Director of our partner organization, PA‘I Foundation. Vicky is the kumu hula (master teacher) and founder of Pua Ali‘i ‘llima, a school of traditional Hawaiian dance, and is teaching us about the deep connections Hawaiians have with their land and how that relationship will influence our creative placemaking work. We are now in the process of engaging an archeologist to determine if iwi kupuna (Hawaiian ancestral remains) are likely to be found on our development site. Kawika McKeague, one of Vicky’s Hula students, will be our guide through this portion of the project. Meetings with descendant families will inform how we respond and how we honor what has come before us on this site. The history of the place will be a part of the story for future uses.”

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