Celebrating Maui’s Art

Native Hawaiians maintain that Maui has mana, or a spiritual presence, that inspires art and cultural appreciation. With its two theater companies, magnificent arts and cultural center, and its own symphony orchestra, Maui provides world-class offerings in both the visual and performing arts. There are more than 50 art galleries and a thriving community of artists on Maui, many of them world-renowned. Take a journey through Maui’s rich arts scene and experience performance and visual art as you never have before.

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 Maui Arts & Cultural Center

The Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC) houses a 1,200-seat main theater, a visual arts gallery and outdoor amphitheater. In both its state-of-the-art indoor facilities and its grand lawn under the stars, the MACC has hosted countless entertainers of local, national and international fame. The center’s popular cultural programs have set the standard with its commitment to showcase top-notch Hawaiian music and hula entertainers in the center’s superb facilities.

The MACC also hosts regular screenings and events for the Maui film community, including several events that are part of the annual summer Maui Film Festival at Wailea. Festival-goers bring their blankets and lawn chairs to the Wailea Golf Club for the Celestial Cinema screening under the stars or for late night silent movies on Wailea Beach.

The Maui Pops! Orchestra is an active contributor to the cultural life of the island, performing regularly at the MACC with excellent musicians from the community. Performers tout the MACC as the finest acoustic venue in Hawaii and a dream venue for classical musicians and visiting musicians.

Art Maui

Since 1979, the nonprofit organization Art Maui has hosted an annual exhibition of juried art works with the mission to promote, encourage and recognize excellence in the visual tactile arts in Maui. Approximately 100 new works are exhibited each year, and all artists are residents of Maui county. The exhibition is typically open to the public late March through late April.

93488478Galleries

Whether you stop in a larger town like Lahaina or a smaller village like Makawao, you’re bound to find an art gallery (or several) with something that catches your eye. Maui Hands now has four locations representing more than 300 local fine artists, jewelers, potters, glassblowers, sculptors, woodworkers and various artisans. The Maui Crafts Guild is an artist-owned and operated cooperative gallery that has featured local art since 1982. Guild member artists include woodworkers, print makers, textile artists, ceramists, glass artists, photographers, basket weavers, jewelers and more.

Be sure to check out the galleries in Lahaina on a Friday evening, when artists are present to share information about their work, live music is performed and locals and visitors alike come out to appreciate the local art scene and enjoy complimentary wine and food. In Upcountry Maui, the Hui Noeau is well worth the trip for those looking for a unique artistic experience. Since 1934, this historic estate has been a gathering of minds for Maui arts and culture. It is now a collective space for artist studios, weekly classrooms, a gift shop and exhibition galleries. For more information on Maui’s many art galleries, visit www.artonmaui.com.

In addition to the many local galleries, free art tours are offered at several resort hotels with extensive collections of traditional and contemporary European, Asian and Hawaiian art. Major art pieces are scattered about the hotels, in public spaces, gardens and along the shore.

Hula

155846791Traditionally, hula was a way to preserve the history, genealogy and the recording of great events through the chants and dances of Hawaii’s native people. Both male and female hula dancers would leave their families to live in hula schools to learn the spiritual and physical aspects of the sacred dance.

While hula declined and was practiced only in secret after the death of Hawaii’s great king, Kamehameha I, it was revived in 1874 and both a new hula (hula auana) and the ancient hula (hula kahiko) are still practiced today. Hula is celebrated at several festivals on Maui and is performed at many resorts and public luaus. Free hula auana lessons are also offered to guests at many resorts on the island.

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