Honolulu Essays

MICROFEST: HONOLULU – Two New Essays about Place-based Arts & Culture

Sunrise and sunset performances, graffiti artists, pre-school children, stories of volcanoes and radical arts-based political action – the MicroFest: Honolulu / National Summit led participants on a journey across the island of Oahu. Two essays capture the amazing range of Oahu’s arts- and culture-based practices, including ensemble theater, that strive to promote healthy communities in both urban and rural places on the island.  Note below author Jan Cohen-Cruz’s invitation to respond to questions related to a new in-progress book!


MicroFest: Hawai’i and the Expansiveness of Ensemble Theater

By Jan Cohen Cruz (Click on the title to download the entire article.)

Jan Cohen-Cruz explores issues of language related to creative community-based work that were revealed and discussed in the potent context of Hawai`i, including such terms as social and civic practice, creative placemaking and cross-sector collaboration.  Taking responsibility to name ensemble theater practices that expand beyond the core production is an opportunity to claim such community engaged work, not as an adjunct, but as an equally significant cultural activity to the important work of making theater.  Cohen-Cruz invites responses to these questions as research for her new book about artists who collaborate with people from other sectors (e.g., law, medicine, organizing, etc.) towards social goals.

  • To what practices do you apply your artistic skills besides making artistic productions?
  • In your experience, what efforts to address social issues have been enhanced by artists’ participation?  How specifically have artistic skills contributed?
  • What aesthetic innovations have you seen emerge from theater makers collaborating across sectors (e.g., through partnerships with others in education, community development, poverty eradication, etc.)?

Please send responses to Jan Cohen-Cruz at jcohencr@syr.edu

Theater and Society in the Center of the Sea

By Sonny Ganaden (Click on the title to download the entire article.)

Sonny Ganaden—printmaker, lawyer, writer, and resident of Honolulu—weaves history and issues of contemporary Hawai`i to offer context for MicroFest: Honolulu’s look at the role art and artists play in creating and sustaining healthy communities.  Examples include, among others, a charter school where students are restoring the flora and fauna of the Wakiki Forest and returning to an `āina (earth)-based knowledge and historical antecedents of self-education; and the connections between hula, Hawaiian language, and community organizing in Hawai`i.

Site design by Design for Social Impact