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Arts Management goes to Hawaii

Arts Management Faculty and Students from Hawaii Trip
From the Left: Lisa Donovan, Allison Blakeslee, Helen Hogge, Johan Serramo, Delano Mills, Jerome Socolof, Emily Baker, Olivia Bonesteel

From March 9th-16th, six upper-level Arts Management students, along with two Arts Management faculty members, traveled to Honolulu as part of TRVL 300: Hawaii and Cultural Tourism. The class examined cultural tourism practices, how cultural narratives are constructed and shared, and whose voices tourism amplifies, all through the lens of the US’ fiftieth state. During the trip, travelers visited sites in Honolulu and around the island of Oahu, learning about the area’s history and living culture. Highlights of the trip included: 

3/10 – Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. A large center on Oahu’s northeast coast, the PCC offers the chance to learn about the cultures of Polynesia from members of the cultures. With villages dedicated to six major cultures (Hawaii, Fiji, Maori, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti), travelers experienced traditional song, dance, crafts, games, and food. At the end of the visit, travelers attended HĀ: Breath of Life, a performance set across Polynesia telling an epic story through the artistic traditions of the six featured cultures. 

3/11 – Grand Circle “Around the Island” Tour. Over the course of a full day, travelers made a huge loop trek around Oahu, heading east from Waikiki, around the eastern shore of Oahu, across the north shore, and back down through the central part of the island. Stops along the way included the Halona Blowhole and Sandy Beach along the southeast coast of the island, the Byodo-In Temple (a replica of a Japanese Buddhist temple), Tropical Farms (a macadamia nut grower), Kualoa Ranch (a private ranch where a lot of Jurassic Park was filmed), Kahuku fruit stands (roadside stands with many fruits and baked goods local to the island), the Dole Plantation (growing pineapples for over 120 years), and Green World Coffee Farm (a local coffee grower and roaster). That night, the closing parade for the Honolulu Festival was held down Kalakaua Ave. in the heart of Waikiki and followed by fireworks over the ocean. Remembering this day in particular, student Olivia Bonesteel said that “Hawaii was not only one of the most beautiful trips I've experienced, but I learned so much about the culture and history of the islands.”

Peral Harbor Memorial, Taken By Emily Baker

3/12 – Pearl Harbor. Travelers visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. The site of an aerial attack by Japan that led to the United States’ involvement in World War II, Pearl Harbor offered educational films and exhibits showing life in Honolulu prior to the attack, how the attack was planned and carried out, and the aftermath on the area, including civilian populations.  

3/13 – Hawaii State Art Museum/Leonard’s. Travelers visited the Hawaii State Art Museum, a small museum dedicated to showing and promoting Hawaiian artists that is part of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Meeting with museum educator, Shirley Lam, travelers learned about the museum’s works and how it aims to serve a constituency that is spread across a number of islands. One of the students, Helen, Hogge, fondly recalls that “I loved being able to talk with an actual museum professional about the work that she is doing to bring the arts to everybody.” After visiting the museum, travelers went to Leonard’s, a Honolulu bakery famous for malasadas, a sugar-coated Portuguese donut made fresh to order. 

Photo Taken By Olivia Bonesteel

While these were major group activities, travelers also had much time to explore and check out areas and activities tied to their own interests. These included ukulele lessons, visiting the Bishop Museum (dedicated to Hawaiian history), tattoos, trying all sorts of local cuisine, and more. 

Once back at school the students were all asked what some of their fondest memories from the trip were. Alison Blakeslee replied that they had been “elated to learn about and experience Hawaiian culture and tourism in Hawaii.” While Delano Mills recollected on how this trip “gave me brand new insight into a culture firsthand.” Yet they could all agree that, and their fellow student Johan Serrano put it best that “Hawaii was amazing! There is no other place like it.”

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