comscore Gathering place

Gathering place

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    Kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine led her 9-year-old students Kahiau Among, Kaitlyn Shimomoto and Melia Waring in hula practice at the PA'I Arts & Culture Center.
    The PA'I Arts and Culture Center at Kapalama Shopping Center opened its doors last month as a place to gather and promote native Hawaiian traditions. Above, director Vicky Holt Takamine leads hula practice in the center's dance studio.

Kumu hula and PA’I Foundation director Vicky Holt Takamine’s longtime dream of a gathering place to celebrate and perpetuate native Hawaiian cultural traditions has come true at last.

The PA’I Arts and Culture Center at Kapalama Shopping Center, which opened its doors last month, offers a dance studio, an art wall, offices and space for classes and meetings.

"We’ve worked so hard to perpetuate our cultural traditions in whatever setting we have," said Takamine, who had been teaching hula in an elementary school cafeteria and holding foundation board meetings in her living room. "Now, we can all gather in a space dedicated for our use — and it’s in Kalihi, my hometown, and centered among some of our great Hawaiian institutions: the Kamehameha Schools, Bishop Museum and Hokule’a. It is, indeed, a dream come true."

After more than 30 years of teaching, Takamine said she is excited to have a home for her hula halau, Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, and for the PA’I Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the halau that was started in 2001 with the mission of preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations. The foundation receives funding from the Ford Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and other grants, and donations from supporters.

Enrollment is available for new hula and ukulele students, and more programs are in the works. New classes in hula kahiko and hula auana begin in February.


» Where: Kapalama Shopping Center, 1210 Dillingham Blvd. Suite 21
» Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment
» Info:

Takamine said she envisions the 2,000-square-foot center as a community gathering space and a hub for native Hawaiian arts and culture.

"It’s a home for the halau, but I expect to share and offer programming for the broader community," she said.

Takamine plans to coordinate classes with other kumu hula and to make them available to residents and visitors alike. She is also hoping to offer Hawaiian language classes after school and on weekends.

An entire wall — the MAMo (Maoli Arts Month) Wall — is dedicated to showcasing native Hawaiian contemporary fine art.

Artists showing their first exhibit on the MAMo wall include Joe Dowson, Sean Browne, Kupihea Romero, Bob Freitas and Imaikalani Kalahele. The art, which also includes sculptures and jewelry, will rotate year-round. The MAMo Wall is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday — and the art is for sale.

Takamine envisions monthly artist gatherings at the center, along with a lecture series on Hawaiian art, culture and issues.


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