ARTafterDARK is the Honolulu Museum of Art’s monthly art party held on the last Friday of the month, January through October, from 6 to 9pm. Every month the event organizers set a new theme, around which the food, drinks, and activities revolve around. For example, last month it was Filipino themed and featured a traditional candle dance demonstration, while this month was Japanese themed and featured a taiko drum performance by Kenny Endo‘s group. Last month there was pancit while this month there was yakisoba. You get the gist.
The food and beverage is almost always catered by The Grove, a globally inspired New American restaurant owned by Chef Fred DeAngelo. And the booze is always plentiful. I really think without the fancy cocktails, beers, and wine, ARTafterDARK wouldn’t be the consistent success that it is for the past 5 years and counting.
There’s also plenty of space to mingle—with max capacity of 2,000—so it’s a great place to meet people and people watch. It also helps that this is one of the rare times that locals get really dressed up in Hawai’i; women bust out their party heels and men come dressed up with more than just shorts and slippers. It’s a nice change of attire to see once in awhile.
The museum also leaves some galleries open, though I recommend coming on regular business hours for a more pleasurable viewing. Inebriated cliques looking and making commentaries about art together does not make an ideal setting for appreciating the pieces in front of you. At the last ARTafterDARK I attended, I saw the Lethal Beauty: Samurai Swords and Armor exhibit. While it was breathtaking to see the fine and immaculate craftwork dating as far back as 13th century, it would have been exponentially better if the loud crowd and their comments were out of sight and out of mind. I could barely move to see the next piece, and it was becoming such a problem that the museum eventually restricted the number of people at a booth at a given time. But by then, it was too late and the art viewing experience had already been tainted.
Overall, I am pleased that Honolulu is good about holding community events such as this and the Kaka’ako Night Market that keeps each month busy and entertaining. You may bump into the same crowd again and again month after month, but at least there’s something different to look forward to each time. When the island is this small, you appreciate any variety you can have!
Honolulu Museum of Art ARTafterDark
Every last Friday of the month, 6-9pm
900 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Admission is free for Museum members and $10 for non-members.