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Downtown Art Galleries
by Reenie Young, People & Places editor

Like art? Want a break from studying? Take a “Downtown Gallery Walk.”

The formal “Walk” is a celebration of the arts held on the last Saturday of every month. It coordinates nine different galleries and shops to encourage more people to visit the newly renovated downtown area.

If it doesn’t happen to be tour day, create your own. Everything is within an eight-block area of HPU’s downtown campus, and the walk can be done in an hour – unless, of course, you find things you want to spend time enjoying.

Louis Pohl Gallery

Starting from HPU, the first stop on the self-guided tour is the Louis Pohl Gallery at 1056 Fort St. Mall (No.7 on map), across from Ross’ department store. The Hawai‘i State Legislature, in 1994, named Pohl a “Living Treasure of Hawai‘i.”

Click on image for larger view.

Before his death in 1999, Pohl asked his wife Sandy “to do good works with his art.” Sandy, with the help of some friends, opened the Louis Pohl Gallery this past November. Part of the proceeds goes toward charities to help women and families in need.

Pohl is famous for his series of original prints that render flowing volcanic lava. “In the 1960s he was a teacher at UH Hilo when the volcano erupted, and when he looked at it he was just compelled to paint it,” said Sandy. Pohl was also famous for his series of original prints of birds.

He used to watch the birds feed in his yard. He liked painting birds as a way to illustrate how people behaved,” said Sandy. Students with valid HPU IDs receive a ten percent discount on any of the paintings or ceramics at the Louis Pohl gallery.

Pacific American Art Gallery

For the next gallery, walk makai (the Hawaiian word for towards the water) to the corner of King and Bethel Street, to the Pacific American Art Gallery (No.8).

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Committed to displaying paintings, sculptures, and crafts from “artists who reflect the indigenous cultures of Pacific Americans,” this gallery is a non-profit organization that supports artists who make Hawai‘i their home.

According to JoAnn Ta’a, assistant director, any talented person, including HPU students, can submit their artwork for consideration, as long as the work depicts the South Pacific. One artist in the collection is Dino Miranda, a former champion surfer in Hawai‘i. Miranda, a self-taught artist, offers several paintings that capture life on O‘ahu’s north shore.

Pitre Fine Art Gallery

Mauka (the Hawaiian word for toward the mountains) to Hotel Street, and one block Ewa (west) over to the corner of Nuuanu Avenue, is the Pitre Fine Art Gallery (No.9), a multi-media art display of work by John Pitre, his daughters, and his wife.

Click on image for larger view.

In a book of his paintings, The Art and Works of a Visionary, Pitre is described as “a master of surrealism – creating fantastic illusionary worlds, using striking imagery created for powerful social commentary.”

Along with his talent for art, Pitre is also an inventor. In 1993, Popular Science Magazine awarded Pitre’s exercise fitness machine called the Time Machine, the “Year’s Best New Invention in its field.” His fitness machine uses water instead of heavy weights and is currently manufactured in California under the name ROM.

Picture City Art and Framing

Picture City Art and Framing (No.2), located one block Ewa at 1127 Smith Street, offers affordable art and an array of picture frames including koa, jewelry boxes, and paddles. Chan Wong, the owner’s godson, said the first preview gallery walk was a success, bringing in about 40 customers.

Ramsay Museum and Gallery

Across the street is Ramsay Museum and Gallery (No.1) at 1128 Smith Street. Ramsay is best known for her pen and ink line drawings. Director Russ Sowers, said that “Ramsay has a remarkable eye for rendering three-dimensioned buildings in two-dimensions.”

Click on image for larger view

Pegge Hopper Gallery

Back on Nuuanu Avenue and a block mauka to 1164 Nuuanu Avenue is the well-known Pegge Hopper Gallery (No.3). Hopper’s paintings depict beautiful Polynesian women. Dana Forsberg, gallery manager, said the public is invited to an exhibition, “Go Figure,” continuing at the gallery until May 10. It will feature internationally known artist Masami Teraoka and other artists.

Click on image for larger view.

The ARTS at Marks Garage

Back down Nuuanu Avenue to the corner of Pauahi Street is The ARTS at Marks Garage (No.4), 1159 Nuuanu Avenue. Rich Richardson, the gallery manager, said the first and second gallery walks were both a success and that “our attendance quadrupled on the first day, seeing about 125 people, and tripled on the second day.” The ARTS at Marks Garage is a collaborative effort by ten resident partners providing many different art workshops and displays ranging from theatre and dance to sculptures and paintings.

Photo Finish Hawai‘i

Towards Diamond Head (east) to the corner of Pauahi and Bethel Street is Photo Finish Hawai‘i (No.6). Photographer Katsumasa Tanaka displays 25 photographs taken from his travels to China, England, Molokai, Togo, and other countries.



Ming’s Antiques

The end of the tour, almost back to HPU’s campus, is Ming’s Antiques (No.5) at 1144 Bethel Street, specializing in affordable antique wood furniture and gifts imported from Beijing. Recently, Ming’s was chosen “Best Antique Store” by a Honolulu Weekly poll of the “2001 Best of Honolulu.” Owner Ming Chew prides himself on the authenticity of each piece of furniture.

Click on an image for a larger view.

He believes in a “natural, hand-worn patina” and refuses to doctor up any furniture with gloss or sanding. Chew admitted he doesn’t know all about the Chinese marking on each piece of furniture.

In fact, he said, “there was a time when an HPU Chinese student came in and told me something I didn’t know.”

Sandy Pohl has been the driving force behind the Downtown Gallery Walk, which she asked her competitors to join. “We all do this together to make the arts grow and to bring attention to the arts, it will be much more efficient by saving money and collaborating with all the art galleries,” said Sandy. The first Gallery Walk was Feb. 23, and she has noticed increased traffic and better sales.
The next “Walk” will be May 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Sandy Pohl at 566-6644 for more information.

Hours of Operation

Louis Pohl Gallery
Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pacific American Art Gallery
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pitre Fine Art Gallery
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Picture City Art and Framing
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Ramsay Museum and Gallery
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pegge Hopper Gallery
Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The ARTS at Marks Garage
Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Photo Finish Hawaii
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ming’s Antiques
Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
2002, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
This site designed & maintained by Rick Bernico.