|Arts and Culture|
Arts & Culture
Call it mystique, call it enchantment, call it simply a beautiful place. Whatever the description, there is definitely a sensory quality about the Big Island that strongly stirs the muse of the artist.
The result is a vibrant arts community in West Hawaii, a colorful palette of both visual and performing arts showcasing a diverse array of talents and styles.
In the visual arts, much of the works spring from the land, people and life here: a watercolor painting of a Kona sunset, a milo wood bowl, a detailed woodblock print of a Hawaiian hula, the iridescence of a raku vase. Many of these works of the hundreds of talented artists here can be found in the numerous commercial art galleries throughout West Hawaii, showcasing art to visitors as well as residents.
In West Hawaii, the mauka (or mountainside) community of Holualoa in Kona as well as Waimea and Hawi in Kohala are three communities with large artist populations and galleries. In West Hawaii, the Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture, the Society for Kona’s Education and Art, the Kailua Village Artists, the Kona Arts Center, the Waimea Arts Center and other well-established non-profit groups offer arts classes and instruction in various media year-round to children and adults.
Meanwhile, community theater groups and choral ensembles, symphony orchestra and swing bands, modern dance and hula and much more all make up West Hawaii’s performing arts palette. Perhaps highest profile among performing arts venues is the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea in Kohala. For more than two decades this superb facility has hosted an exceptional variety of touring Mainland U.S. and international groups along with top talent from the State of Hawaii.
The West Hawaii Dance Academy and Hawaii Dance Theater performs dance classics as well as newly created works throughout the year. Schools as well as non-profit, community and religious groups also put on regular performing arts events. Resort hotels on the Kohala Coast bring in jazz, blues, Hawaiian and other touring musical groups from Honolulu and the Mainland U.S. on a regular basis.
Finally, West Hawaii is home to a number of hula halau (or dance groups), which perform on an ongoing basis, but especially during observances of Hawaiian holidays, at luaus, and for special cultural events such as the Aloha Festival held annually in September and October. Hawaiian musical groups perform both traditional and contemporary Hawaiian vocal and instrumental music, including falsetto, slack key and Hawaiian steel guitar, performing at many of the same events as hula halau.