You’re on Oahu and want to show your support for the island’s creative community by buying authentic Hawaiian art to bring back to the mainland. There are certainly no shortages of studios and galleries to browse through, but therein lies the challenge. How are you to know which ones carry unique works of deserving local artisans? You’ve come to the right place, as we have curated a list of galleries that you’ll feel good about supporting, while finding something truly remarkable for the walls, shelves, and mantles of your home. The studios to follow include an eclectic mix of hidden gems and higher-end galleries for all tastes and budgets.
Top 5 Places to Visit for Authentic Hawaiian Art in Honolulu and on Oahu
47-653 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe
Sunshine Arts in Kaneohe boasts the largest collection of local art in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Visitors are delighted to find distinctive pieces from over a hundred artists featured in the gallery. Within, enthusiasts will find paintings, handmade jewelry, resin-based crafts, stained glass, woodwork, sculptures, carvings, feathered leis, ceramics, pottery works, and photographs. You won’t discover this kind of diversity anywhere else in the 50th state. When considering the level of talent and sheer volume of work you will most certainly uncover the perfect item for your home. This spirited and unpretentious gallery has been in business for decades but remains more relevant than ever before. They received The 2021 American Art Awards distinction as the Best Gallery or Museum in Hawaii, and the “AAA” has also listed Sunshine Arts as one of The 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America. Get directions to Sunshine Arts from your Honolulu accommodations.
Gecko’z South Seas Arts
Hookili Place, Makakilo, HI
The same mastercraftsman that brought you South Sea Bungalows in Ko Olina and is the island’s top resource for authentic tiki mugs has recently opened a full studio on his property in Makakilo, on the slopes of Oahu’s west side. Gecko’z South Sea Arts studio is a worthy destination based on aesthetic alone. The gallery is tickled from head to toe with lauhala, bamboo, nautical wares, vintage surfboards, and Polynesian carvings – and that’s just the decor. As far as what’s available for sale, curators have access to intricate and one-of-a-kind ceramics and woodwork that are incomparable to anything else in the world. We’re not being hyperbolic.
You do need to make an appointment to visit the studio. The earlier in advance that you can do so, the better. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your visit, and get directions to Gecko’z South Sea Arts from your hotel or vacation rental.
2335 Kalakaua Avenue, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Honolulu, HI
There are many galleries in Waikiki Beach, but we’re really excited about the newest addition which is found within the Outrigger Waikiki – one of the most authentic Hawaiian hotels on Oahu. Among the collections on display within Aesthetic Hawaii, are contemporary takes on vintage Hawaiiana. You’ll discover artist Steve Neill’s reimagining of travel and tourism signage that looks like it was plucked right out of the 1940s and 50s. But Neill’s highly-collectible work is just the tip of the shave iceberg. The gallery shop is chock full of lively paintings, blown glassware, and prints in addition to an assortment of artisan odds and ends that you can buy without spending too much of your vacation budget. View location and more on Aesthetic Hawaii.
Haleiwa Art Walk
Various locations, Haleiwa, HI
The weekly or monthly “art walk” concept is a daily affair for visitors to the North Shore’s Haleiwa Town. In fact, there are so many impressive galleries and studios in this town that we don’t dare name just one. Begin your day of art curating at Waimea Blue and Wyland Galleries in the North Shore Marketplace, then head up to Tabora Gallery and Wy’s Gallery before visiting Polu Gallery and the Clark Little Gallery. If you happen to be on the island in July, you’ll find even greater number of locally made and crafted works of art at the annual Haleiwa Arts Festival. View more on each of these galleries and the entire North Shore art community experience.
Artsy Fartsy Hawaii
56-1089 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI
The playfully named Artsy Fartsy is the ultimate hidden gem gallery. It’s located deep within the North Shore, tucked at the end of a long dirt road within a sustainable farming community. Even if you’re looking for the sign along Kamehameha Highway between Turtle Bay Resort and Kahuku’s famed roadside foodcourt you probably won’t find it. Be sure to reference the directions provided via the link to follow. Woodwork and pastels are the primary theme. The prices are reasonable, and the on-site makers are delightful to talk story with. View precise location and more about Artsy Fartsy Hawaii.
Do you have any questions about the above galleries and studios? Drop them in the comment box below and we’ll respond as soon as we hear from you.