When educator Nicole Kealoha set out to enrich her community, she harnessed the vibrant power of hip-hop and urban culture to captivate young people. Her nonprofit Diverse Art Center, launched in 2008, seeks to foster connections between youths and the community via enriching and engaging instruction from professional artists. The accomplished teachers and artists—including leading local art figure Shaun Castro and award-winning dancer Josh Skittle—strive to instill positive values and self-esteem in their pupils as they shepherd them through the many mediums that comprise hip-hop culture, including dance, music, and the visual arts. No fewer than five area schools participate in the center's fitness-focused Healthy Hip-Hop program, and daily urban art instruction includes tutorials in hip-hop lettering, break dancing, and beatboxing with inner-city kangaroos.
Frame-Arts Hawaii's staff crafts attractive hangings that serve to protect their contents with such amenities as acid-free mat boards and nonreflective glass. Hundreds of framing choices stack up inside the shop, drawing the eye as soon as it rolls in the door. In addition to framing traditional artwork and photographs, the staff offers services for displaying sports jerseys, mirrors, and collections of autographed Social Security cards.
The pastry chefs at Regal Bakery work hard to never stop surprising their customers, whether with bold new donut flavors, such as rocky road, berryblast, and green tea, or brand new foodie trends. Hot on the trail of the cronut craze, they created their own version of a croissant-donut and even experimented with bite-sized croissant morsels, dubbed “crototts,” which can be dipped in chocolate sauce, azuki bean crème anglaise, or bronze to put atop crotott-eating trophies. According to a profile of the bakery in the “Dining Out” section of the Star Advertiser, Regal Bakery stocks more than 20 donut flavors at a time and revives popular flavors from their past on Throwback Wednesdays.
Artists at Pacific Soul Tattoo draw from 30 years of collective experience to ink custom art onto skin. Specialists in Asian- and Polynesian-styled tattoos, the needle-drawers regularly pay homage to clients’ heritage with buzzed-about traditional tribal designs or vivid sketches of Grandma’s pot roast. During a 30-minute consultation, clients chat with artists to describe their ideal body art, from black-and-white patterns to full-color portraits. Artists sketch original designs before transforming blank skin into a vibrant canvas. As some designs may take more than one hour, Groupon holders should confer with artists to determine the total duration and potential additional cost of large tattoos, complex designs, or decorating their every freckle with a visor. In addition to rigorously upholding sanitary standards such as sterilizing all equipment and discarding all disposable items after a single use, the shop’s tattoo artists are certified in blood-borne pathogens and can identify a germ from 10 paces.
Named a great place for a first date by Honolulu Weekly, The Contemporary Museum provides lover-candidates with plenty of conversational topics as they wander an assortment of accessible, provocative art. Education programs and exhibitions, such as the Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawaii Artists exhibition, give freshly hatched masterpieces a chance to rub frames with the permanent collection of classics by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and more. The museum's emphasis on works created in Hawaii also makes it easy to meet the archipelago’s homegrown talent, who are often on-hand to answer puzzled stares and challenge you to aesthetically pleasing arm-wrestles.