Honolulu (KHON2) – At the heart of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC), Art Vento, the President & CEO, gave John Veneri a tour through the amazing facility and down memory lane, the journey and its pivotal role in shaping the cultural landscape of Hawaiʻi. The interview, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, delved into the MACC’s approach during times of hardship for the community, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and Maui’s devastating wildfires.

Celebrating its upcoming 30th anniversary, the MACC stands as Hawaiʻi’s most comprehensive Performing and Visual Arts Center. It is recognized not only for its world-class performances but also for being a beacon of cultural exchange. Artists like Tony Bennett and Yo Yo Ma have praised the venue, with Yo Yo Ma calling it the cultural ‘Piko’ of Hawaii, highlighting the Castle Theater’s acoustics.

Art also highlighted the MACC’s community-centric approach during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent wildfires. The center focused on three key pillars: Access to the Arts, Healing through the Arts, and Rebuilding a sense of Community.

“To achieve these goals, the MACC organized free events to provide the community with opportunities to gather without barriers. These included events like the free ‘Ukulele Festival, free Hawaiian Storytelling, free screenings of Hawaii International Film Festival, and the free Kī hō‘alu Slack Key Guitar Festival. Additionally, the MACC extended its reach by bringing artists and musicians into evacuee hotels, livestreaming events, and distributing free ukuleles throughout Maui.”

In response to the Maui wildfires, the MACC launched the Wildfire Benefit Series, ensuring that every event at the center had a fundraising or benefit component since August 8th. They also raised over $208,000 in a massive fundraiser with Henry Kapono.

Looking ahead, the MACC continues to bring the best of the world to Maui while showcasing the best of Hawaii for the world. Upcoming events include performances by Hawaii’s top artists, such as Makana, Amy Hānaialiʻi, and Henry Kapono, alongside international acts like reggae superstars UB40 and Country music favorites Old Dominion.

In a surprising twist, Art shared a special announcement with John, revealing that the MACC will host “LŌKAHI,” an all-star lineup for another Wildfire Benefit on December 17th. This unique event exemplifies the MACC’s commitment to being a community partner for Maui Nei.

The MACC’s dedication to fostering community resilience through art and culture serves as a testament to the power of creativity in times of hardship. With their unwavering commitment, the center continues to be a cherished cultural hub for the people of Maui, as well as a destination for art enthusiasts from all over Hawai‘i and beyond.

For more information, visit https://www.mauiarts.org

Mālama Maui is supported by Hawaiian Airlines.  To learn how you can Mālama Maui, visit HawaiianAirlines.com/VisitMaui.