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Aug 16, 2017

Ward Village Art Walk

As the owner of Big Bad Wolf, one the hippest children's boutiques in the city, Amy Wong has developed a substantial following of parents looking to outfit their children in the coolest threads. However, Amy's influence on the creative scene in Honolulu extends beyond her success with Big Bad Wolf. She and her husband, acclaimed artist and curator Jasper Wong, helped create POW! WOW!, an annual weeklong celebration of art that sees the creation of murals, talk story events, and live art installations across the city. To be sure, POW! WOW!'s impact on the culture of the city can't be measured as the iconic large-scale, rotating murals have brought throngs of visitors to the city and have helped make Honolulu a destination for art enthusiasts world wide.

Just like Amy, Ward Village believes all great communities are built on an appreciation of art. That's why we're proud to have included public art throughout our grounds. Recently, Amy—along with her daughter Ella—let us tag along their art walk in Ward Village, showing us a handful of their favorite pieces and discussing the positive impact that art can have on communities.

Jasper Wong, Big Bad Wolf
South Shore Market

Amy and Ella, clearly enjoying Jasper's mural in Big Bad Wolf.

Let's talk about Jasper's piece in the store.

Well, first and foremost, I'm Jasper's biggest fan. I'm his biggest cheerleader and I constantly encourage him to paint more, rather than curate. He's very skilled at what he does and curating projects is his focus. But to have him create a wall for me means he took time out of his hectic schedule to work on a piece for us. I could stare at the wall forever.

How often do people comment on the piece in the store?

I think people actually come into the store because of the piece. I've seen lots of people study it from outside, react to it, and then come into the store. A lot of first-time shoppers or people who are new to what we're doing will want to take a photo of it. People comment on it daily, it's definitely a conversation piece.

The Living Wall
South Shore Market

The Living Wall at South Shore Market offers a unique canvas for public art.

A living wall is obviously not your standard art piece, but it's still art nevertheless art. What is it about this piece that appeals to you?

I really appreciate the amount of work that went into creating the Living Wall. As a painter or muralist, when you are done with your piece, you walk away from it and show the world what you've done. If you're installing a living wall, you have to constantly maintain it and study how the plants are thriving within their environment. It needs constant care. I'm attracted to the nature of it and the never-ending labor that goes into up-keeping that art piece.

The Zane Mural
South Shore Market

The Sig Zane Mural graces the exterior of South Shore Market.

What was it you like about this piece?

I love that the Zanes are able to merge art, nature, and culture together. There's a lot of thought that goes into their designs. And so when I see their work, I take the time to really appreciate all of the backstory and cultural understanding that goes into everything they do. I think it's really great that Ward Village has worked with them to bringing culture into the area. To me, their work is really symbolic. Essentially, they've blessed an entire wall of South Shore Market with their work.

Why do you think having art in public places is a good thing?

I wasn't exposed to art very much when I was younger. But it can be such a powerful thing. To have art in public spaces helps to expose entire communities to art and to new designs and ways of thinking. With public art, we see something we might not ever be exposed to. Art in public spaces also helps bring the community together, which is always a good thing.

Solomon Enos, Keaomelemele
IBM Building

Solomon Enos's piece within the IBM Building pays homage to the culture of the islands.

What was it about this piece by Solomon that stood out to you?

I like the story behind the piece. It's a goddess, Keaomelemele, and she's looking through the window of time. Solomon envisioned how the landscape would have looked here 1,000 years ago. Every time I look at this installation, I feel moved. It helps us to stop time and remember how the Islands have evolved. This piece is very impactful to me and I think it's such a great idea to have it in the IBM building. A building where developers come and go daily. It keeps us humble and reminds us to be mindful of this precious land.

Defining art can be a really tough thing to do. But what is "art" in your eyes?

Art is something that pulls a reaction from your heart. Art can come in many shapes and many forms and mean many things to many people. But to me…art is emotional.

To learn more about Big Bad Wolf, follow them on Instagram at @BigBadWolfKids.

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