Words: Lalaine Ignao | Photos: Marleen Tana
After going strong for seven years, POW! WOW! has returned to its homebase for another week full of creative events and a handful of artists ready to transform Kaka’ako into a location filled with new murals. POW! WOW! began in 2010 as a small gallery show and eventually found its way into the streets. This year marks the seventh festival in Hawaii, starting with a block party with Honolulu Night Market on February 11 and ending it with an EDM show featuring Steve Aoki as the headliner on February 18.
The weeklong event kicked off with a press opening at The Study at the Modern Honolulu, which has hosted the past conferences for three years. During the event, people from all over the media along with the general public joined the directors of POW! WOW! to learn more about the organization and its festivities for the week. Local natives Jasper Wong, Kamea Hadar and JP Kennedy shared their journey with the organization and how they got to where they stand now.
As a creative organization, POW! WOW! strives to promote creativity in the community. Coming out of graffiti culture, the directors aspired to connect artists around the world to share their talents and leave their mark globally. After seven years, they have gathered more than 70 artists to participate in this worldwide movement. Each POW! WOW! festival features a good mix of local artists from the hosting city, as well as a variety of artists from around the globe. The goal is to implement importance for the artists to know the local community and build relationships with the people in that area.
One of the ways that POW! WOW! gives back to the community started with providing an educational opportunity for students ages 12 to 18 to learn art and music. Also known as POW! WOW! School of Music and POW! WOW! School of Art, the directors wanted the children to collaborate and learn from someone physically.
Hadar stated, “We wanted to give an opportunity to any children from both public and private school to learn music and art. That’s the beauty of bringing people together. We wanted to give them the opportunity to allow students to pursue their passions.” The students have the ability to participate in these programs because of the merchandise that POW! WOW! sells during the festivals.
“Support comes a long way,” Hadar shared. These products, which people could buy online or at the POW! WOW! pop-up shops, help to pay for educational opportunities, paint and artists’ flights.
Although another year of POW! WOW! may have ended in Hawaii, keep a lookout for next year’s festival. In the meantime, let’s continue to keep the creative community alive.