The Arts at Marks Garage in Chinatown has expanded its gallery space to accommodate a range of activities.
“We had three options: slight change, medium change, and the third one was radical change,” said Arts at Marks Director Rich Richardson. “We went for radical.”
THE ARTS AT MARKS GARAGE
>> Where: 1159 Nuuanu Ave.
>> When: Open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
>> Info: 521-2903, artsatmarks.com
The first phase of $50,000 in renovations was completed just in time for the venue to host a party on opening night of the Honolulu Biennial on March 8.
The artist-run, nonprofit center on Nuuanu Avenue is housed on the ground floor of a 1950s-era four-story parking garage. The new design knocked down walls and took out private cubicles that were replaced with mobile desks on wheels. Richardson said the intent was to foster interactivity and creativity.
Principal architect Katie MacNeil of G70, which provided its services pro bono, said the open space allows for reconfiguration depending on use. A performance space, which used to accommodate 123 seats, now has a standing capacity of 300.
An open-framed conference space called The Nest is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
The design changes, made possible by a state grant, also enabled the Arts at Marks to partner with Friends of the Library of Hawaii to display books for sale on shelves along a back wall of the gallery. In addition, a desk run by travel2change, a nonprofit that encourages ecotourism, is set up in the center to provide information to visitors about local volunteer opportunities.