Honolulu Academy of Arts Goes Green

The Honolulu Academy of Arts did the “green” thing this past Sunday for its Family Sunday. Assuming this was in anticipation of yesterday’s Earth Day, I would say they did a great job.

Honolulu Academy of Arts

For those who drive down Beretania Street and pass the Academy on a regular basis, like me, you’re familiar with the colorful banners in front of the Academy that are blowing in the wind as you drive by.

Colorful textiles covered in cultural writings

These banners, as festive and alluring as they are, have nothing to do with Earth Day. These are part of the motif that continues on the inside and is the current exhibit visiting the Academy.

Signage for The Dragon's Gift The sacred arts of Bhutan are currently this featured display at the Academy of Arts. The full display of this attraction is on the second floor.

We did not venture up to see the display but it was definitely the topic of conversation while we were there. “The Dragon’s Gift,” as this exhibit is titled, is an attraction which focuses on the “Himalayan kingdom’s Buddhist art and culture.”

This exhibit represents an unusual opportunity to learn about a culture we don’t hear about very often. In addition to the educational aspect, it is definitely a visual feast of very colorful arts, sacred ritual dance, and rich textiles.

Those colorful banners we mentioned, the ones pictured above, are actually covered in writings that you would only see if you were standing next to them. While the writings are not in English, the quality and detail involved with such labor still makes quite an impact.

So, just what was going on for Earth Day? Well, there were a lot of things to make you think about protecting our environment and a lot of hands-on activities for the keiki (children).

Volunteers make terrariums for the keiki

Here we’ve got some terrariums being made to further educate the youngsters. I was surprised to see just how little parking was available and how many young children were there. The Academy is not usually a place where you find young children. Its focus is more on the arts of various World cultures. Bishop Museum is a more common place to see the kids.

Parents crafting with the kids

It certainly made for some creativity and quality time for families. Happy Tamanaha, seen below, was showing people of varying ages the art of basket weaving from simple coconut leaves.

Happy Tamanaha explains basket weaving

While the push has always been to plant more flora than concrete, the other, more-recent focus for our planet is to recycle products that may otherwise end up in the landfills.

Mark Chai's Industrial Art

Local sculptor, Mark Chai, has the right idea and shares those ideas with attendees. Pictured above, left, we see a conversational mood light created from a waste basket. In the center we have a decorative light made out of an x-ray film carton that would have otherwise been discarded. The item on the right is a wastebasket made from corrugated tin roof and, get this, old cafeteria trays.

Mark Chai's Street Lamp Shelves

This one is my favorite. The backing of this piece is actually the backing of a street lamp that Mr. Chai found at the dump. He has made a useful creation that, while maybe not suitable for your living room, would certainly make great shelf space on the lanai or in the garage. What’s the Aloha sign? Nothing more than thick cardboard. Imagine that — attractive, functional and Earth-friendly!

The Academy is not done with the green of the past Family Sunday. For their Art after Dark celebration on April 25th (held from 6 – 9:00 PM on the last Friday of the month) attendees will enjoy more live presentations for uses of recycled materials, some organic cuisine and drinks, a variety of entertainment, and a final chance to see The Dragon’s Gift exhibit.

Honolulu Academy of Arts
900 Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96814
Phone: (808) 532-8700

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Angie // Apr 24, 2008 at 6:08 am

    LOVE the lamps and street light! Those were so inventive! Thanks for sharing that!

  • 2 Evelyn // Apr 24, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Hi Angie, how are you?!? I thought those lamps would make really cool night lights if you put a battery-operated, low-watt bulb in them. They would be cool to put at the top of porch steps or something. They can be made useful for sure!

  • 3 Carnival Chapter 9: Taking Time to Smell the Plumeria // May 5, 2008 at 12:06 am

    […] (that’s me) wanted to share that the Honolulu Academy of Arts Goes Green. We found some pretty neat ways to recycle junk too! So, we get to relax and […]

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