Maui Arts & Entertainment

Public invited to comment on proposed Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art in Wailuku

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Several Kumu Hula who have participated in initial planning discussions were on hand to share their vision for the center and hear public feedback. Pictured are Councilmember Alice Lee (left) and Kumu Hula Kapono’ai Molitau (right). PC: County of Maui.

Residents are invited to share their ideas for the proposed Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art in Wailuku Town. The Department of Management launched an online survey as a follow-up to Friday’s Open House, featuring questions about the Wailuku Arts District and the Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art.

More than 50 residents gathered at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ Promenade Food Court to discuss possibilities and potential for the county’s first cultural center devoted to hula and associated arts.

During the Open House on Friday, conceptual floor plans show various uses for space at the proposed Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art in Wailuku Town. The center may have space for classrooms, dance studios, arts workshop areas, events space and community gathering areas. Open House attendees were offered an opportunity to place a dot next to images they wanted to see at the Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art, as well as share feedback about the project. PC: County of Maui.

“We encourage everyone to take the survey to participate in the early planning process,” Mayor Victorino said in a press release update. “The planned Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art belongs to the people of Maui County. Hula is the living history of the Hawaiian people. This project will allow everyone to learn and experience the depth of cultural wisdom perpetuated through hula.”

Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art is a key component of the Wailuku Arts District Management Plan. Residents may learn more and participate in early planning by visiting www.wailukulive.com/rewailuku, and click on Hawaiian cultural center “take survey.”

A coalition of Maui kumu hula has been working with the county since 2020 to lay groundwork for the project. Mayor Victorino announced the concept on Feb. 8, and included it in his Fiscal 2023 budget request to the Maui County Council.

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The Council’s Budget and Finance Committee passed it. The Council’s first reading is scheduled for Thursday, May 26.

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Although project plans are still conceptual, planners estimate the construction will cost $54 million. The Department of Management has requested $43 million from the County’s FY23 budget and $11 million in federal assistance. 

The Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art will be located adjacent to the new Wailuku parking structure currently under construction. The center will be the first of its kind in any county dedicated to the study, practice, celebration and perpetuation of hula and various ‘ōiwi arts. The community will enjoy classrooms, studios, exhibit and events space in addition to programming. 

VC: County of Maui

To remain engaged and informed, visit www.wailukulive.com/hoa or www.hoamaui.com for project updates.

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