Honolulu gets top-10 honors for arts destinations among mid-sized cities
HONOLULU is in the top 10 for arts destinations among mid-sized cities, according to AmericanStyle magazine's June edition
, now on newsstands.
Its 10th annual reader-ranking actually lists 75 top arts destinations, by city size.
On this year's mid-sized city list, Honolulu is No. 7, outranked by Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Atlanta and New Orleans in readers' eyes. Miami, Tucson and Savannah round out the top 10. Honolulu was No. 5 in 2005 and No. 19 in 2001.
New York is No. 1 for the seventh time, and Santa Fe repeats as the No. 1 small city.
The magazine has ranked arts destinations since 1998. It inaugurated the city-size categories in 2005.
"Studies show that people who support the arts and culture in their own communities, when they travel, also like to explore arts and culture," said Andrew Meader, who manages the Hawaii Arts program for the Hawaii Tourism Authority in conjunction with the nonprofit Hawaii Arts Alliance. "Those visitors tend to stay longer and spend more."
Increased spending benefits visual and performing arts venues, but goes well beyond fattening artists' wallets, said Hope Daniels, AmericanStyle editor in chief.
"You've got taxis, rental-car companies, tour buses, restaurants, hotels, B&Bs ... cultural tourism is really on the rise in many parts of the country and it generates a tremendous amount of additional revenue that people didn't capitalize on before."
Galleries can be intimidating for people to walk into alone, but events like First Friday in Honolulu and other cities create, "a friendlier environment and ... generate a tremendous sense of community where people want to bond," said Daniels.
Such events give local residents a sense of pride in the city and add to the quality of life, Meader said.
They also tend to engender commerce, as in the new art venues, cafes and restaurants around the Hawaii Theatre.
"It's taken awhile, and it's still growing and evolving, and different things are happening, but the arts definitely contribute to that economic growth."
The magazine limits articles about winning cities in the Top 25 issue to the top three markets in each category, so Daniels encourages Star-Bulletin readers to "get out the vote and push Honolulu to the top one, two or three."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org