What started out as a project for one man to paint with his friends has now become a 100-artist-strong hui of international talent that has helped revitalize an urban Oahu district.
When Jasper Wong founded Pow! Wow! Hawai`i, he wanted it to be a collaboration that could showcase Hawaii’s artistic talent. It has achieved that, and much more. Since they began in 2011, Pow! Wow! has created more than 70 murals in downtown Honolulu — an effort, in collaboration with other local businesses, that has earned the area the title of “Best Up-and-Coming District in 2014.”
It is truly an international effort. Artists from Austria, England, the mainland U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and China descend upon the district to complete their murals over the period of one week in February. The difference between Pow! Wow! Hawai`i and other mural projects (see also: Wyland) is that the artists are encouraged to work collaboratively. Ideas and talents come together not only in art, but in a cultural exchange that begins in the valley of Nu`uanu (at the Pali Lookout) and then Iolani Palace before paint is put to wall. The end result is not just beautiful art, but art with a purpose.