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Kamehameha Schools seeks artists for commissioned artwork for SALT at Our Kaka‘ako

Rendering of SALT located at Our Kakaʻako.

Building upon the urban art scene that Kaka‘ako is now known for, Kamehameha Schools’ new restaurant and retail center, SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, will include at least 12 site-specific, original works of art when it opens later this year. Kamehameha Schools (KS) is seeking artists and/or arts organizations to create the new art works at SALT to cover walls, stairways, alleys and walkways.

The commissioned pieces will creatively tell the neighborhood’s cultural and historical stories, as well as its connection to Kamehameha Schools’ founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  The largest piece is approximately 19,000 square feet and will wrap the parking garage and be visible from Auahi Street.  The budget for all art pieces is $280,000, and the type of media and lifespan of each piece will be determined by its location within the center.

SALT at Our Kaka‘ako gets its name from the extensive salt pans and fishponds that were abundant in Ka‘ākaukukui, today referred to as Kaka‘ako.  Pa‘akai, the Hawaiian word for salt, is one of the themes for art in the center.

“We have a saying in Hawaiian, ‘E pū pa‘akai kākou.’ It literally translates to ‘Let’s share salt,’ but can be interpreted to mean ‘Come as you are, bring what you have,’ as all contributions to a meal are accepted and valuable, no matter how humble. Today we’d say, ‘Don’t worry, no shame, just come.’  This is the same casual feeling we want at SALT where people can meet, share ideas, talents and food,” said Keoni Kelekolio, director of Hawaiian language advancement in Kamehameha’s cultural development office.

Stories of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s legacy, the history of Ka‘ākaukukui, and the people who tended the land and created industry in Kaka‘ako could also be inspiration for the art pieces.

“We want every courtyard, nook and alley at SALT to be interesting and discoverable. The art, architecture and industry will combine to tell the story of what was here before us and also be a space to create new stories too,” said Paul Kay, director of development for Kamehameha Schools.

SALT is Kamehameha Schools’ specialty retail center designed to serve the growing population of residents in the area. The $45 million retail project will reflect the historical roots of the region while generating income for the Schools’ statewide educational initiatives.

Artists interested in the project will need to provide images representative of their work, as well as a resume and letter of interest. Artists will be selected in June with art installed at SALT beginning in August.  The full RFP document can be downloaded at

About Our Kaka‘ako
Our Kaka‘ako is home to a growing legion of local eateries, creative makers, unique gathering spaces, and accessible housing options for locals.  SALT at Our Kaka‘ako is a 65,000-square foot retail and restaurant center on Keawe, Auahi, Coral streets and Ala Moana Boulevard, that will serve as a hang-out space for residents and a gathering place for Honolulu’s burgeoning art, culture and creative community. It is expected to open in December 2015.

About Kamehameha Schools
Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable trust founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Kamehameha Schools operates a statewide educational system enrolling over 6,900 students of Native Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on O`ahu, Maui and Hawai`i and 30 preschools statewide. Over 41,000 additional learners and caregivers are served each year through a range of other Kamehameha Schools outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities in Hawai`i and across the continental United States. Income generated from its endowment portfolio of Hawai`i real estate and other investments funds the Schools’ educational mission. More information can be found at