Big Island Art
While the big towns of Hilo and Kona take center stage for many other activities, it’s the smaller towns that really stand out when it comes to finding Big Island art and artists in their natural habitat. Even the tiny towns can have amazing art on offer, so park the car and take a look around!
A great stop for art in Hilo is Wailoa Arts and Cultural Center, located near the Wailoa River. Exhibits change monthly; annual favorites include the Big Island Woodturners’ Exhibition and the MAMo Art Exhibit. Admission is free. Another place to check out local Big Island arts and culture is the Lyman Museum, which seamlessly blends Hawaiian culture, history, and art. Then there’s the East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center, which showcases the work of local artists in a historic building fronting Kalākaua Park in downtown.
Hilo also has many excellent seasonal craft fairs, particularly during the week of the Merrie Monarch festival (springtime). If you’re lucky enough to be here then, you’re guaranteed to find crafts of the highest quality, especially at the festival grounds.
In Holualoa, just a few miles south of Kailua-Kona, you’ll find Holualoa Gallery just next to the town’s post office. There’s also the popular Donkey Mill Art Center, which hosts exhibitions and offers classes and workshops in a variety of media. As you cruise south on Mamalahoa Highway, passing fragrant coffee fields, you’ll spot lots of funky little shops and galleries next to the fruit stands and coffee shacks.
Genesis Galleries at Waikoloa Resort is a great spot to check out some top-quality art. With locations in both the Kings’ and Queens’ Shops, you’re sure to find something to delight the eye and mind. Keep a particular eye out for the super-detailed paintings by Harry Wishard, which depict some of the most outstanding scenery of the island.
Hāwī and Kapaʻau are truly tiny towns, yet it’s rare to find such an assortment of great Big Island art galleries within just a few blocks. Blink, and you’ll miss them, so make sure to park and stroll around.
Volcano Art Center Gallery is located near the crater rim, within Volcanoes National Park. The building itself is worth a close look, as the gallery is housed within the 1877 Volcano House Hotel. It’s consistently voted one of the best Big Island art galleries, and no wonder, as Volcano Village is home to a plethora of artists seeking the quiet solitude of the forest.
The picturesque “old west” town of Honokaʻa is home to the Big Island Glass Gallery, as well as a variety of interesting tourist shops containing everything from vintage treasures to locally made artwork and souvenirs. It’s a pleasant afternoon’s stroll up and down the main street.
This cowboy town is also home to a number of Big Island art galleries. Two of note are the Waimea Arts Council and the Gallery of Great Things. There’s also a small but quality arts museum, the Isaacs Art Center. All three are within a few blocks of each other, so plan to take a walk and enjoy.
Are you ready for some fine Big Island art? Enjoy all of the great art and much more on the Big Island, including the activities down below: