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Arts and Culture

ARTafterDARK – Honolulu’s Premier Monthly Art Appreciation Event

For residents and visitors alike, a visit to the Honolulu Museum of Art is typically a peaceful respite from the bustling city life found just beyond the walls of its many courtyards and art galleries. But come the last Friday of each month (January through October) and the carefully-maintained courtyards play host to a lively crowd and the museum’s most popular event. ARTafterDARK features a new theme each month and is best described as an art party.

First launched in 2004, ARTafterDARK began drawing a crowd in excess of 2,000 people in just a few short years. Held in July, 2008, that particular event featured New York-based DJ Rekha, who was greeted by a free-spirited dance party in the Central Courtyard. While not every ARTafterDARK features live music, many showcase some type of performance or creative arts. A recent ARTafterDARK event invited guests to transform their Instagram photos into polaroid-style prints as a mementos of their evening at the museum.

Some ARTafterDARK events feature live music or DJ entertainment

Food, drink, and entertainment have been staple criteria in the organizing ethos of the all-volunteer advisory board that plans each themed event. Local catering groups tailor their menu to the established theme just as the sponsoring company for each ARTafterDARK will often collaborate with organizers on an interactive activity for guests to enjoy.

The advisory board is comprised of mostly young members and the core intention of the ARTafterDARK has been to attract a younger demographic to the Honolulu Museum of Art, with the hopes of sparking their interest in the permanent collections and exhibits. The strategy has been successful, as Lesa Griffith, director of communications for the museum explains, “We are now seeing an average of 500 new members joining the event every month.”

ARTafterDARK in the interior courtyard at theHonolulu Museum of Art

Since the cost of attendance for a single ARTafterDARK event is about the same as the cost for the annual membership —which includes free entry to each ARTafterDARK — many attendees opt for the annual pass. Ultimately this results in a ripple effect, as it allows these new members to explore some of the other programs and events offered at the museum. The annual membership includes access to discounted tickets for film screenings at the adjacent Doris Duke Theater.

Each member of the ARTafterDARK advisory board is tasked with spearheading the finer details of one unique event over the course of the year. This approach makes for a fresh and unique experience for event attendees month-to-month. The youthful and popular following at ARTafterDARK events is a testament to the work put in by these energetic volunteers.

For a full listing of the ARTafterDARK events scheduled for the rest of the calendar year, and for more information about the event itself, be sure to check out their website.

Exterior of the Honolulu Museum of Art

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