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by Katja A. Silverå, Arts & Entertainment editor emerita

Across from Marks Garage, the historic Hawai‘i Theatre, newly restored and with a new Times-Square style marquee reminds passersby of the value of preserving what cannot be replaced. With Tenney Theatre at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, now home to the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, and Kumu Kahua Theatre, in the historic Kam V Post Office Building, downtown now has three centers for drama and live performing arts. And Kumu Kahua reminds us all of the importance of being original, and of understanding, if only through drama’s reflections of life, the experience of the island’s diverse cultures.

Across downtown, Iolani Palace, nearly restored to its former grandeurs as home of kings and capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Next to it, at the corner of Richards and Hotel streets, the Hawai‘i State Art Museum exhibits portions of the state’s collection, and on its lawn, the IONA dance company dramatizes aspects of modern life in movement and color and imagination, enchanting visual entertainment that truly projects the wonderful innovative and harmonious mix of art forms and styles that Hawai‘i encompasses.

Just a few blocks away The Contemporary Museum’s gallery at the First Hawaiian Center allows locals and visitors to mix business with pleasure, as the bank’s walls abound with works by local artists and the dramatic 185 prisms provoke curiosity and instilled confidence in the preservation of story telling through various art forms.

Returned from faraway places, from travel by train, plane, bus and auto across half a dozen borders, this crosstown walk was nonetheless unique, encompassing a much deeper insight into the society in which we live than could be reached in more removed transport , no matter how many miles, or kilometers, logged. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.” Honolulu’s people are fortunate to be able, in their everyday lives, to partake in such a wide world of public and private fine and performing art.

Visual arts, performing arts, language arts, even culinary arts--all comprise the body of fine arts that enrich our lives everyday. This multitude of arts--with such specialties as architecture and furniture, ceramics and sculpture, dance and theatre, painting and drawing, photography and film, music and opera, literature, and poetry--the common themes are creation, originality, beauty, the ironies of existence, the variety and uniqueness and value of the human spirit. As Aristotle said, more than 300 years before the birth of Christ, are is grounded in our five basic physical senses, and it influences in the same way as everything else that we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. So all the things surrounding us become art and are transformed by us and by art and transform us, influence us to grow as people, shape us and, ultimately, the society we live in, which influences our architcture, dance, theatre, film, and visual arts and brings us round full circle.

Full circle, just like the four seasons. Summer is over. Fall is here. And following are some of the fine arts and performance happenings that Honolulu can look forward to. Enjoy.


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