The Wailuku Arts District embodies the places, organizations and systems of support that sustain (I need a better word here) Wailuku as the Maui focal point for celebrating and strengthening our cultural identity.
As we recognize ten years since the launch of the County’s 2012 reWailuku communal visioning effort – which identified Wailuku's core values, beliefs and goals in order to explore options for public spaces and for the town’s future, we see a joyful community of small businesses, restaurants, theaters, galleries, churches, students and educators that purposefully celebrate their distinctive Wailuku character. This is a storied place; a neighborhood that values a history steeped in Hawaiian culture and embracing of the many that have followed here, and a community that gravitates toward each other to engage, perpetuate and celebrate.
Currently, as the County is completing its Wailuku Improvement Projects, a team of Wailuku champions are working to designate the Wailuku Redevelopment Area that extends from Central Ave. to High St. and Wells St. to Mokuhau St., as an official arts district. This massive effort to coordinate facility and public space planning, management, maintenance and collaborative programming will result in an interconnected destination that maximizes the public's opportunities to experience, learn and celebrate the arts.
Led through a calendar year 2022 + 2023 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts awarded to the SMALL TOWN * BIG ART cooperative (County of Maui, Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House Museum/ Maui Historical Society and Maui Public Art Corps), a Wailuku Arts District Management Plan Advisory Committee comprising arts programs, businesses and cultural practitioners is meeting (and evolving!) regularly to establish a public-private partnership that will implement the Wailuku Arts District vision.
While this vision is currently under careful consideration, it’s fair to say that it reflects a colorful, artist-centered community that touts the highest concentration of working artists in the County, where everyone can feel creativity flow throughout its businesses, restaurants, artists studios, and re-imagined underused spaces. As a County-appointed arts district, it is home to studio spaces for local artists, designers, cultural practitioners and makers where each person can experience firsthand how art happens; experience art and architecture reflecting Wailuku’s multicultural and historical roots; engage with fellow community members and visitors at any number of shops, restaurants, or lounges; participate in a class at any level; take in the expansive and continually evolving public art collection through SMALL TOWN * BIG ART or enjoy a performance by Maui OnStage, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui Chamber Orchestra, Maui Choral Arts Association, Maui Pops Orchestra, Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra – or any number of partnering groups that come to Wailuku to share their work. With the establishment of Wailuku Arts District, the world will come to know that this is the place where art lives.