Chinatown dragon’s fate up in the air
What happened to that really nicely painted dragon alongside Kukui Tower on Nuuanu Avenue and North Kukui Street? It was done by some arts group, and some neighborhood children had participated in decorating it. Now I see it is missing. It really helped make Chinatown Chinatown, even though it's about a block away.
Answer: The 30-foot dragon art piece was removed from the street corner in early October, exhibited at the ARTS at Marks Garage gallery in Chinatown for two weeks, then taken down on Sunday.
It is now in storage until a decision is made on where it possibly can be displayed again, said Wiwik Bunjamin-Mau, community facilitator for Hawaii Arts Alliance.
The dragon was a collaborative effort involving the ARTS at Marks Garage, which is part of the Hawaii Arts Alliance; EAH Housing, which manages Kukui Tower; and the city's "Weed and Seed" program, with support from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
"We're in the middle of discussion about where to put the dragon," Bunjamin-Mau said yesterday. Possibilities include a different location entirely or back to Kukui Tower, either inside or out, she said.
When it was dedicated in July, the colorful dragon, made out of Styrofoam, chicken wire and waterproof cloth, was said to be standing guard to ward off evil spirits and protect the community.
The Nuuanu/Kukui intersection was notorious for being a hangout for prostitutes and was the scene of fatal shooting involving prostitution. Four boys were injured in June when a car jumped a curb.
Bunjamin-Mau said the dragon, "from the beginning," was meant to be only temporarily placed at the intersection. It was not created as "permanent public art," she said.
Q: The 'Olelo cable channels appear to be running more and more religious programming and material. This has led to less cultural and public-interest programming on 'Olelo. Isn't there a church-state separation issue here, as 'Olelo is publicly funded and should not be running any religious material in the first place?
A: Although 'Olelo Community Television does receive state funding, it is not considered a government or state entity and, therefore, is not subject to the doctrine of separation of church and state.
"'Olelo is a private nonprofit corporation which promotes public, educational and government programming," explained a spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Cable Television Division.
"They're not a government entity," she said.
Because of that, 'Olelo is "not in violation" when it accepts and airs religious programs, said 'Olelo spokeswoman Angela Angel.
Basically, any person or organization, religious included, may broadcast on an 'Olelo channel, so long as it's not commercial in content or illegal because it is libelous, slanderous or obscene, Angel said.
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