project leader
Abbey S
Kamehameha Ave
(Downtown Hilo)
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the project

As COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of our island home, it is now more important than ever to support our local businesses and creative community. In this spirit, we are seeking donations as Hawai’i FEAST is launching the “Downtown Hilo Placemaking Initiative” in late 2020. This project is an opportunity for us to come together to support local artists in creatings murals at six different locations in downtown Hilo. 

As part of this project, our team will:

  • Identify a minimum of six sites for public art activation in Hilo. These sites will primarily consist of the exterior walls of small businesses in downtown Hilo.
  • Invite artists to pitch their ideas for how these sites should be activated through murals and public art. Selected proposals will be made publicly available online. The public will be asked to vote on their favorite proposal, and the winning artists will be provided $2,000 to implement the proposed public mural.
  • Work with the selected artists and property owners to ensure the public murals are implemented within a month’s time.

the steps

  • Initial Research has already been initiated by Hawai‘i FEAST. We have reached out to local organizations who are interested in activating their building with a mural. Thus far, four businesses have confirmed their involvement, and offered an exterior wall of their building to be used for a public mural. 
  • Securing Funding involves reaching out potential organizations and businesses to donate to the Hilo Placemaking Initiative. In addition to the identified businesses above, Hawai’i FEAST will reach out to the the community organizations and private entities regarding donating to this campaign.
  • Artist Selection will begin by developing a “Call for Artists” email blast and other digital media, asking artists to submit proposals for how they plan to activate the selected site through murals and public art. This media will be distributed through Hawai‘i FEAST and project partners. For each site, proposals from three to five artists, or groups of artists, will be posted online for one week. Through email blasts and social media, the Hilo community will be invited to vote on their favorite project (voting through a Google forum). The project that receives the most votes will be provided funding for implementation.
  • Implementing Mural(s) involves distributing funds to the selected artist or group or artists and supporting the implementation of the proposed mural(s). This project will be implemented in coordination with the identified business. 
  • Media and Administration are ongoing tasks.

why we're doing it

While Hilo has a rich history and some of the town still maintains its charming “plantation” architectural character, the town suffers economically due to the regional declining agricultural production and natural disaster impacts. Due to this, some of Hilo is blighted by vacant buildings and formerly industrial lots. 

Artists have an important role in improving the physical and social fabric that holds Hilo together. It has has been well documented in urban planning studies that public artwork, and public murals in particular, improve a community’s economic wellbeing and provide residents with a greater sense of place. Artists also play a critical role in communicating what might not otherwise be understood by the general public through thought-provoking forms. In a time of climate change and political uncertainty, public art is more important than ever. Despite the vital need for art, the creative community in Hawai‘i often lacks the fiscal resources to implement projects on a scale that is visible to the public. 

This project is being led by artists, for the community. As artists, we are dedicated to working with the creative community to afford them with the opportunity to make their voices heard and provide them with the financial resources to implement public art that benefits the small businesses and people of Hilo.


  • Mural Funding for Selected Artists: $14,000
  • Staff Stipend & Program Operations: $16,200
  • Marketing and Administration: $1,800

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $1,741
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $1,045
TOTAL TO RAISE = $34,821


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