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Visual Arts

There are various institutions supported by the state and private entities for the advancement of the visual arts. The Honolulu Academy of Arts is endowed with the largest collection of Asian and Western art in Hawaii. It also has the largest collection of Islamic art, housed at the Shangri La estate. The academy hosts a film and video program dedicated to arthouse and world cinema in the museum's Doris Duke Theatre, named for the academy's historic patroness Doris Duke.

The Contemporary Museum is the only contemporary art museum in the state. It has two locations: main campus in Makiki and a multi-level gallery in downtown Honolulu at the First Hawaiian Center.

The Hawaii State Art Museum is also located in downtown Honolulu at No. 1 Capitol District Building and boasts a collection of art pieces created by local artists as well as traditional Hawaiian art. The museum is administered by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

Performing Arts

Established in 1900, the Honolulu Symphony is the oldest US symphony orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains. Other classical music ensembles include the Hawaii Opera Theatre. Honolulu is also a centre for Hawaiian music. The main music venues include the Neal Blaisdell Center Concert Hall, the Waikiki Shell, and the Hawaii Theatre.

Honolulu also includes several venues for live theatre, including the Diamond Head Theatre.

Events & Festivals

A number of holidays and festivals celebrating Honolulu's unique mix of cultures are held throughout the year. The Narcissus Festival, in January or early February, marks the Chinese New Year with lion dances and pageants. The Cherry Blossom Festival runs from January to March and is the largest running ethnic celebration in the state. A highlight of the event is the selection of a Cherry Blossom Queen and Court.

Prince Kuhio Day on March 26, a state holiday, is held in honour of the prince who served in the U.S. Congress for 20 years. The Honolulu Festival takes place in March and celebrates ethnic harmony. The Hawaii Invitational International Music Festival occurs in April with high school, junior high, and college band participants. Lei Day on May 1st is one of Honolulu's most popular unofficial holidays; festivities include hula dances, contests for the best lei, and the crowning of the Lei Queen. The Hawaii State Fair occurs on weekends from mid-May through mid-June at the Aloha Stadium.

The Pan Pacific-Matsuri Festival held in June promotes cultural exchange between Hawaiian and Japanese cultures. In addition to dance, art, and music, the Festival includes a golf open and a half marathon run. The King Kamehameha Celebration, a state holiday observed on June 11, honours the king who united the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaii International Jazz Festival held in late July celebrates Jazz with international artist. The Ukulele Festival held annually in July presents a variety of ukulele players during free concerts. The Japan Festival is celebrated in July; nearly one-third of Honolulu's population is Japanese. The Prince Lot Hula Festival in July showcases ancient and modern versions of the dance at Queen Kapiolani Bandstand. The Aloha Festival, observed for one week between the beginning of September through mid-October, celebrates Makahiki, the traditional harvest time when taxes were paid, with pageants and street parties known as Ho'olaule'a.

The Annual Orchid Show in late October shows thousands of varieties of plants and flowers, especially the exotic orchids which grow in the area. The Hawaii International Film Festival in late November and early December brings together award-winning film directors from the nations which border the Pacific Ocean.





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