Don’t Call It a Comeback: 3 New Art Galleries Open in Honolulu’s Chinatown

By early 2020, Chinatown’s once-thriving arts district felt stagnant as a gradual and steady loss of businesses in the area took its toll. But two years of strife have inspired art anew.


Maybe the pandemic was the kick in the pants Chinatown needed to prioritize the arts again. Joining stalwarts Hawai‘i State Art Museum and The Arts at Marks Garage, three new galleries have emerged at seemingly the least likely time.


Chinatown Downtown Art Center

Downtown Art Center’s second-floor gallery. Photo: Katrina Valcourt


If you look up at the zodiac creatures staring down from Chinatown Gateway Plaza, you may also catch a glimpse through the second-floor windows of Downtown Art Center’s new gallery, which hosted its first show in late 2020 and absorbed works from the Louis Pohl Gallery in 2021. The space hosts various community groups and nonprofits; downstairs, you’ll find more local art and gifts.

Downtown Art Center, 1041 Nu‘uanu Ave.,, @downtownartcenter


Honolulu Printmakers moved into the Louis Pohl Gallery space at 1142 Bethel St.


Farther up the block, Pegge Hopper’s former gallery and loft now houses Arts & Letters Nu‘uanu, showcasing rotating exhibitions with a Hawaiian focus, in addition to serving as secondary locations for Native Books and Waiwai Collective.

Arts & Letters Nu‘uanu, 1164 Nu‘uanu Ave.,, @artslettersnuuanu


No longer affiliated with the Honolulu Museum of Art, First Hawaiian Center’s lobby gallery relaunched in March 2022 with paintings by Satoru Abe. Plans are for the gallery to showcase established local artists in addition to up-and-comers, such as Roland Longstreet, curated in partnership with Eclectix Design Inc.

 First Hawaiian Center, 999 Bishop St.,, @fhbhawaii


SEE ALSO: Afterthoughts: What Happened to Chinatown’s Arts District in Honolulu?