Honolulu’s arts scene rates, American Style says
Honolulu is in the top 20 of American Style magazine's 2008 favorite arts destinations
Publisher Wendy Rosen notes that arts travelers are seen by the travel industry as a high-spending and therefore desirable group.
"Often, they are luxury travelers, who will purchase art for their collections while in town, as well as visit the restaurants and patronize the inns and hotels. These are visitors who appreciate quality and craftsmanship, and take interest in local talent," she said.
The magazine publishes a three-part Top 25 Art Destination list, by city size, so Honolulu is not competing against serial winner New York City. NYC may have MoMA, but we have MAMo, or Maoli Arts Month, which is next month.
The Big Apple tops the big cities with populations of 500,000 or more; Buffalo, N.Y. tops our category, mid-sized metropoli with populations of 100,000 to 499,999; and Santa Fe, New Mexico is the No. 1 art destination among burgs with populations of fewer than 100,000.
Despite increased promotion and mainstream awareness of our arts scene though, Honolulu actually dropped from No. 7 last year and No. 5 in 2005. We were No. 19 in 2001.
It's a bit of a mystery.
American Style Public Relations Director Jean Thompson politely cautioned your columnist against "portraying it as all bad."
"Making the Top 25 in itself, I think is an honor, because it tells us that there is an investment in the arts and in making cultural travel part of the economic development of a city," she said.
That is part of the aforementioned increased promotion and mainstream awareness.
The paper you are reading has long published an arts calendar and extended coverage of artisans and events.
The Web sites of the Oahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau are also among myriad resources for Hawaii-bound travelers seeking arts and culture-related activities.
An OVB online video about Hawaii's more than 60 annual festivals features breakout Broadway star Loretta Ables Sayre and directs viewers to the HVCB site.
The American Style lists are from annual reader polls, as reported previously in this space, but it is often more than readers voting, especially when balloting gets publicity as it did here in October.
"Often, boosters and others who care deeply about arts tourism in those towns spread the word among their mailing lists, and other promoters get on the horn and get people voting," Thompson said.
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: email@example.com