Kakaako murals getting a fresh start

Kakaako mural

The face of Kakaako is once again changing.

“It’s almost like a changing of the guard, or changing of the seasons,” Pow Wow Hawaii Board Member Mikey Inouye said.

Pow Wow Hawaii teams and volunteers are hitting the streets of Kakaako taking what used to be colorful, vibrant, and contemporary murals and making the walls dull again.

“Getting some paint and covering it up, making it look like it was never there,” Pow Wow Hawaii Music Director Christa Wittmier said.

The 5th annual 10-day art, music, and mural painting event is about to get underway on Saturday, Feb. 8, launching with an art exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art. One hundred featured artists from around the globe will gather on Oahu to collaborate, paint, and beautify public spaces following the art show.

“We are already getting comments about it from passersby. They are like ‘Why are you doing that?’
We are pretty excited to tell them there is more to come. Just wait a couple of weeks and we will have everybody here painting and it will be all new,” Wittmier said.

“For once, seeing a bunch of buff walls is a really positive exciting thing because it means new work and newer high-profile artists coming every year,” Inouye said.

But some might say how can you paint over someone else’s artwork?

“We want to highlight that it’s about the process. It’s about the creation of the art and not the end result,” Wittmier said.

“As an artist, it’s kind of a normal thing when you have something in a public space. Public art generally only has a lifespan of a certain time,” Pow Wow Hawaii Operations Director and artist Jeffrey Gress said.

Pow Wow Hawaii has 65 walls from the University of Hawaii to Downtown. Artists come from as far as Europe and Asia to collaborate with local artists to take a blank canvas and transform it into something awe-inspiring and captivating.

“It’s exciting. We’ve had these pieces of art before you and so you have all this inspiration equal, or better, or at least it challenges you to try your best,” Gress said.

Artists will begin hitting the streets and mural painting on Monday, Feb. 10. The Pow Wow Hawaii official finale and block party will be in Kakaako on Saturday, Feb. 15.

If you’d like to volunteer to assist with buffing and prepping the walls next week, email cw@powwowhawaii.com.

For more information, visit this website.

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