Topic of the Week: Supporting Local Arts and Designs
Hawaii is one of the toughest states for those involved in the arts to make a living. The word on the street is that Studio One, a popular gallery and entertainment venue (and home to the nation's largest registered poetry slams), will be closing in October. Despite what you might say about their business model, it provides a needed outlet for artists (poets, painters, and musicians looking for a voice) as well as the audience (which is willing to pay for cheaper alternatives to the opera and the symphony).
The state will be left with no other mid-sized downtown venue for locals with a stage layout that can pull in 300 to 500 (restaurants don't count), meaning that small local acts and events won't be able to grow, or will be forced to play large venues. And it's very, very hard for growing acts to turn a profit in large venues here.
If you think such an operation cannot be financially viable, think about the bigger, hidden economic net benefits for nearby restaurants, stores, galleries, and bars. And without attracting nightly crowds, downtown will sink deeper into its perceived image as a drug-addled ghost town with an uninspiring night life. We're going to lose new, upcoming cultural voices like this:
And audiences like this, interested in theatre, poetry, and music in the round: