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Community collaborates to bring back Art Night

By Staff | Aug 13, 2009

LAHAINA — “Everyone realizes that we are a small community, and we have to work together to be successful,” Matt Lane explained.

He is describing the community-wide collaboration behind “Friday Night is Art Night,” that’s returning with a major event on Aug. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. on Front Street.

Coordinated by Lane of LahainaTown Action Committee (LAC), the event will feature receptions by 18 galleries with appetizers donated by restaurants, and strolling musicians playing outside the galleries.

“We have all been working on this for about five months. Their reactions are supportive, encouraging and optimistic. The restaurants are pitching in free food for the galleries… There are over 15 musicians that are playing for the galleries for free,” Lane noted, adding that the musicians “are just doing it because they believe the event will benefit our town.

“The galleries are unveiling new pieces, having special showings and are constantly promoting the event. The hotel concierges are on board 100 percent. They want to help out as much as possible. Local shops are hanging posters in their windows.”

The participating galleries span from Images at 900 Front St. to Gallerie 505 at 505 Front St.

Lane sees the fete as a way to revitalize “Friday Night is Art Night,” a popular weekly event in the 1990s.

“It could bring hundreds of more people into Lahaina that might be spending their money somewhere else. You have a lot of consumer choices on Maui, but if there is an event like this going on in Lahaina, you will want to come down to Front Street,” he explained.

“People will stay in town longer, shop more and go out to dinner. If we all embrace and promote this event, we can make it a monthly gathering that will increase the revenue of restaurants, galleries, shops and the residents that work there.”

Participating galleries include Images, Higgins Harte International Galleries, The Lori Higgins Signature Gallery, Lahaina Galleries, Vladimir Kush Gallery, Sargent’s Fine Art, Martin Lawrence Galleries, Diamond Head Gallery, Peter Max, Thomas Barbey, Wyland, Surf Art Gallery, Peter Lik, Village Art Gallery, Maui Hands, Joelle C. Gallery, Contemporary Masters and Gallerie 505.

With its world-renowned artists and many galleries in a small town, Lahaina is known to some as “The Art Capital of the Pacific.”

“It is really unique to have so many galleries in such a small town. We need to embrace it more,” Lane commented.

“Take a walk on Friday night and take a look for yourself. Maybe it’s been awhile since you have been into all the galleries. Maui is an inspiring place. If anything, we should encourage more live and local art.”

Restaurants supporting the event include Sante Fe Cantina, Kimo’s, Lahaina Coolers, The Melting Pot, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Lahaina Fish Co., ‘Aina Gourmet Market, Longhi’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Kobe Japanese Steak House, Betty’s Beach Cafe, and Mai Tai Lounge.

Matt Costa, a Brushfire recording artist under Jack Johnson’s label, will play Friday night at Hard Rock Cafe, and The Easy, a soul band, will perform at Santa Fe Cantina.

Lane and LAC want to make Art Night a major monthly event. It could grow to feature restaurant specials, more live music and free movies. “There are a lot of possibilities,” he said.

“‘Friday Night is Art Night’ has been a part of Lahaina for over 20 years. There is a unique and eclectic group of galleries that add an undeniable value to our town. Art is inspiring. It brings people into Lahaina. Just being able to walk around, dine, view the galleries and listen to live music is a unique experience,” Lane concluded.

For information, call LAC at 667-9194.