Every February, Honolulu's trendsetting Kakaako neighborhood becomes a vast outdoor canvas as 70 artists from across Hawaii and around the globe gather to paint enormous outdoor murals on the area's buildings and walls.

The weeklong POW! WOW! Hawaii, now in its eighth year on Oahu, is a global creative arts and music festival that enables artists to collaborate creatively while showcasing and sharing their work with the local community. Beyond the large-scale murals, POW! POW! Hawaii features live art installations, workshops, gallery shows, film screenings, concerts, and more. Every event, except for the last night's concert, is free to the public. POW! WOW! Hawaii is the flagship event, and the organization also sponsors events across the U.S. mainland, and in Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

Jasper Wong, Oahu native, artist, and POW! WOW! founder, explains the philosophy behind the global arts events and its passion for public art: “POW! WOW! enables everyone to access and engage in the creative process because we bring art right into the community. Artists create together while locals and visitors witness the painting and participate in all of our programs.”

Wong also emphasizes the organization's commitment to arts education and the local creative community. “Once POW! WOW! is over, the impact lasts and not just because the murals beautify the city. We sponsor an ongoing School of Art and a School of Music for local Oahu students who then get to paint and perform at POW! WOW! Hawaii on Oahu. We also started Lana Lane Studios, which provides affordable studio space for creative artists here on Oahu.”

POW! WOW! Hawaii kicks off with Honolulu Night Market, a large outdoor music and art party, on February 10, and continues with the Thinkspace Exhibition at Honolulu Museum of Art February 11, the UDEF Break Dancing Competition at Ward Warehouse February 16, and the Foot Golf Tournament with Kicks to the Pitch and Paradise Soccer Club on February 18. Live mural painting starts February 12. Check powwowhawaii.com for schedule updates.