Honolulu is 20th in U.S. as an arts destination


POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009

Honolulu is holding steady as the No. 20 top arts destination in America, according to AmericanStyle magazine.

In the magazine's 12th annual arts destinations poll, Honolulu could have been pushed down a notch among midsized cities, as Chattanooga, Tenn., made its debut this year at No. 2.

Magazine editors called Chattanooga's appearance a reminder that when the economy gets tough, local art lovers stay closer to home to get their arts and culture fixes.

“;Remember the vital roles played by artists during the last recession,”; said Wendy Rosen, publisher of AmericanStyle, in a statement.

“;They moved in to dying Main Streets, shuttered factories and warehouse districts, and converted them into galleries and art scenes. Their murals, outdoor sculpture and other public art enchanted tourists and helped spark new investment. Artists led the way then, and they are leading the way now.”;

The magazine has rated arts destinations since 1998 and, in 2005, began breaking out winners into three lists, according to population.

New York City still tops the major metro list as it has for six years; Buffalo, N.Y., got a second year at the top of the midsized city list and Santa Fe, N.M., tops the small cities and towns list for a fourth year running.

The magazine notes that luxury travelers won't be able to resist destinations with superior museums, galleries and festivals, “;while 'staycationers' will be pleased to find great art cities within driving distance.”;

If you live or will be on Oahu, there are several sources to peruse for arts and culture events, including the Star-Bulletin's weekly HiLife section.

The June issue of AmericanStyle with all three Top 25 lists, is on newsstands now. The lists are not yet posted online.

On the Net:

» www.americanstyle.com

» www.maoliartsmonth.org

» www.visit-oahu.com

» www.gohawaii.com



All 250 booths for the 34th annual Spring New Products Show April 24 through 26 are sold out, despite the economy.

“;We are running a waiting list,”; said Gloria Chung, operations director for Tihati Productions and Pacific Expos.

Booth sales started in January and “;from the get-go it was pretty steady.”;

Vendors have told her booth sales and attendance at other shows are down “;so we are surprised at the turnout,”; Chung said. “;Even though retail booths run $875 for a corner, when you're thinking marketing, that really isn't that much.”;

Only about 15 percent of exhibitors are from the mainland, Chung said. They “;usually do all of our shows. It's their excuse to come to Hawaii and write it off,”; she chuckled.

“;A handful”; are expo-circuit regulars from the neighbor islands — most are from Oahu.

The expo sellout belies Hawaii's sunken economy, which will be a focus of mini-seminars about surviving tough times with presentations on the power of saving, reducing debt and more. Admission is $3 and prizes up for grabs include a Ford F-150, $1,000 in groceries, $500 in gas and Las Vegas and neighbor island trips.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).