Eight cities’ proposals out of more than 150 were chosen this year.

The City and County of Honolulu announced Thursday that it received an award through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge.

More than 150 proposals were submitted to the challenge this year, with Honolulu’s proposal being one of eight that was chosen. 

Called “Wahi Pana,” which translates to “storied places,” the proposal intends to highlight indigenous stories at Oahu sites popular with tourists. 

Masked surfing sculpture along Waikiki Beach on Kalakaua Avenue during COVID-19 pandemic.
Masked surfing sculpture along Waikiki Beach on Kalakaua Avenue during COVID-19 pandemic. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020)

No specific examples were included within the city’s press release, which credited the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts with leading the proposal, but the city said that these art installations will be multimedia projects by Native Hawaiian and Hawaii-based artists.

These artists will “collaborate with cultural experts to research and create site-specific artworks highlighting the complex histories of often overlooked cultural and historical sites affected by over-tourism,” according to the press release. 

Per the funder’s guidelines, projects will be temporary installations. They will be crafted throughout the next two years.

Other cities that received the award proposed their own unique projects. 

In hot and dry Phoenix, for example, the winning proposal seeks to create more shade through its public art. Houston’s winning proposal seeks to “interrupt perceptions of homelessness,” its mayor said in an announcement video put together by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The full list of recipient cities include Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Orlando, Phoenix and Houston. 

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