Hawaii’s street art movement beautifies communities and creates powerful positive impact, says co-founder of annual street art festival


Photo by Emarie Majors

As you stroll through downtown Honolulu, vibrant and colorful murals adorn the walls and surfaces surrounding spectators on the streets.


The Our Kaka’ako website says much of the street art comes from POW! WOW! Hawaii, an urban art festival that attracts talented local and global artists to paint and refresh murals. Hawaii.com explains that the name of the festival refers to the impact of art on people. The annual festival is made up of contemporary artists who demonstrate creativity and celebrate a deep appreciation for art and culture, according to the Our Kaka’ako website.

Co-founded in 2010 by artists Jasper Wong and Kamea Hadar, the site Our Kaka’ako explains POW! WOW! Hawaii has become a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, the website says the movement is a street art leader in 17 different cities, where community members participate in workshops, talks, exhibits, block parties, and Q&As with artists.

In an interview with VoyageLA, Wong, a native Hawaiian, said, “Our mission [as a non-profit] is to beautify communities. [We feel obligated] to educate people about the positive impact and power of public art. •

Christopher S. Washington