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Community places finishing touches on donated murals at ‘A‘ala Park

O‘AHU – A blessing and community painting effort today placed some of the final brush strokes on a series of murals now adorning several park facilities across ‘A‘ala Park just outside of Chinatown.

Through a public, private partnership between the City and County of Honolulu, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Better Block Hawai‘i, Kamehameha Schools Mural Club (KSMC), and artist Sergio Garzón, this storied park location has been given new life as part of the A‘ala Park Public Art Project. This initiative employs a community-led planning process to help reinvigorate the park, while celebrating the area’s rich history and cultural diversity through these public art displays.

 “These murals are such an excellent way to not only beautify our public spaces, but to also tell the park’s story and create a sense of pride and cohesion amongst the community,” said Laura H. Thielen, Director of the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation. “In summer 2021 the City committed to making a wide variety of improvements throughout Chinatown. Certainly, making our public gathering spaces more vibrant and inviting is part of that solution. I’m grateful to the brilliant Kamehameha Schools artists for their creative energy, Trust for Public Land for this donation and continued park activation, Sergio for his diligent work, and all of the helping hands who continue to give back to this historic neighborhood.”

This most recent series of murals and accent paintings adorn the park’s: comfort station (bathroom building), basketball court, skate park, ‘ōpala storage, seating areas, planter boxes, and sidewalks. The mural concepts were developed by the KSMC, in conjunction with Better Block Hawai‘i, with assistance from local artist Sergio Garzón, guidance from the community at large, and input from Miss Hawai‘i 2022 Lauren Teruya.

The mural concepts include figures from mo‘olelo relating to the surrounding community, and reflect the culture of the diverse recreational users of this urban park. For instance, ‘a‘ala is Hawaiian for “fragrant or sweet-smelling”, which inspired the floral lei design on the basketball court. The walls of the comfort station are embellished with the image of Lepeamoa, a girl from Native Hawaiian mythology who could turn into a beautiful chicken, with feathers the colors of every native Hawaiian bird. Surrounding the skate park are designs and graphics inspired by local skaters and the eclectic O‘ahu skating community, who represent the continued evolution of this sport from a counter-culture hobby to an Olympic sport. Dotting the sidewalks are various hop-scotch impressions, designed to encourage movement as park users and keiki stroll through the park.

“Public parks play a critical role in improving mental and physical health outcomes and overall well-being,” said Sultan White, Parks for People Program Manager, Trust for Public Land. “We’re grateful to have tremendous partners invested in transforming ‘A‘ala Park into a safe and welcoming place for the entire community to enjoy.”

This particular project is part of a larger TPL initiative in Hawai‘i, Parks for People program, which connects people with the outdoors, a guiding principle central to the organization’s overarching vision. By engaging the community in surveys and workshops, TPL has helped activate the space and improve park amenities through projects such as public art for the more than 18,000 neighboring residents who live within a 10-minute walk.   

“Art is a form of healing… it’s as easy as that,” said artist Sergio Garzón. “I have a strong belief in the empowerment of communities through creative mentorships.  These mentorships drive public art projects, leaving behind a sustainable imprint in the community that others can benefit from for years to come. Let’s support the beautification of our island through the benevolence of art and love.“

Previously, TPL and the KSMC painted three bus shelters and nine utility boxes near this urban park location. Along with additional park activation thanks to American Savings Bank, most recently realized during the Super Skate Public Demonstration and equipment giveaway, this iconic park location has a bright new look filled with community activities for all ages.

The nearly 6.7-acre ‘A‘ala Park is one of DPR’s oldest park locations, opened to the public in summer 1871. These murals and accent paintings, valued at $23,000, were approved by the Honolulu City Council via
Resolution 22-247

The project was made possible by the generous support of American Savings Bank, The Kosasa Foundation, and supporters of TPL’s Parks for People Program, including Atherton Family Foundation, City and County of Honolulu Grant-In-Aid Program, Robert Emens Black Foundation of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Foundation, HEI Charitable Foundation, Central Pacific Bank Foundation, Bank of Hawai‘i Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, Island Insurance Foundation, Howard Hughes and Finance Factors.

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email

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