Artspace Hawaii


Funding Received: 2011
Honolulu, HI
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
September 6, 2012

Based on feedback from artists in Hawai`i,  the 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 working together to create a mixed-use arts facility in the Kaka`ko neighborhood in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The project will provide 80 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. There will also be commercial space for creative businesses.

Artspace Regional Director Cathryn Vandenbrink sums up the life of the project so far.

“So much of the work occurs before construction begins. This stage of any Artspace project can be time consuming and at times discouraging, but is vital to its success. There are several milestones that need to take place before groundbreaking, and three have huge significance: achieving site control, receive the award of tax credits and the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the project. After three years of working in Hawaii a site has been donated to Artspace by the Hawaiian Community Development Authority. We anticipate a 65-year lease at $1 per year. The site is in an area beginning to undergo major redevelopment from light industrial to urban infill, high density mixed-use with emphasis on arts and culture and new creative businesses. There are an increasing number of artists and arts related businesses located in this community that will be displaced by new development projects with far more expensive rents than they are currently paying. Artspace will provide permanent space for many of these artists and for some of the arts organizations.
“What have we learned? In addition to what we’ve long known—that creative communities foster an entrepreneurial environment—we have learned the importance of telling our story in relationship to a community's affordable housing, transit-oriented development and economic development goals. By creating space that supports arts and culture in a permanent facility and meets the space needs of the local creative community, broader community goals are met. We’ve learned to stress to our partners the importance of the transformative power of creative placemaking and make sure that all stakeholders—artists; politicians at the local, city, state and federal levels; arts organizations; neighborhood associations and individuals—hear about the project first hand from Artspace.

“In a nutshell: It’s about partners and more partners. One of our biggest challenges is keeping everyone up to date and excited as we move through a multi-year development project.

Interact. Engage. Inform. Collaborate.”

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