I've always enjoyed Maui's artists and our local galleries. I hear that we have one of the most sophisticated art markets in the country, and you'll find art galleries in every town across the island.
While there are many wonderful ways to spend a day in Kapalua, my ideal day off is to meander through the upcountry cowboy town of Makawao and the sleepy beach town of Paia, stopping in our local shops and galleries.
One of my favorite galleries is Viewpoints in Makawao. This is the small town where I grew up, and this charming gallery shows the work of some of Maui's best artists, including George Allan, Joseph Fletcher, and Kari McCarthy. I always stop at Viewpoints to dream about my future art collection, stopping at T. Komoda's Bakery for their world famous cream puffs (they even have a fan club on Facebook!).
As you travel down Baldwin Avenue toward the ocean, you should stop at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center. Located on the upcountry estate of Kaluanui, the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center provides the Maui community with a vast array of programs, including workshops, classes, lectures and exhibitions. Each summer during my childhood, my mother would enroll me in a variety of classes which included ceramics, painting and, my personal favorite, puppet making (I think that was the year I was eight). Kaluanui is one of Maui's oldest estates, and is worth a visit for the architecture alone, as it was designed by noted Hawaii architect CW Dickey in 1917.
A little further down Baldwin Avenue is Paia. Here you'll find Maui's best health food store, Mana Foods, which also happens to have an outstanding variety of chocolate! Along the Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue trendy shops and fantastic restaurants dominate (the fish sandwiches at the Fish Market and the crepes at Cafe Des Amis are a must), along with several galleries featuring local artisans, including the Paia Contemporary Gallery and one of three Maui Hands Galleries locations.
Maui Hands is dedicated to showcasing local artists, and actually features my favorite, Sarah Howard in their Hyatt Regency Kaanapali gallery. Of course, I am a little biased, as she is my mother. That's her painting of Kapalua Bay featured above, painted on site at the Coconut Grove. She took up painting just three years ago when she retired, and has already been featured in Art Maui, one of Maui's most prestigious art exhibitions. If you have a chance, please stop by the Hyatt and see her work, which largely focuses on local scenes and florals.
While in West Maui, don't miss Lahaina's Front Street. This small oceanfront town has long been considered an art mecca, with over forty galleries stretching along the historic Front Street. Featuring everything from dynamic photographer, Peter Lik, to crafts under the Banyan Tree courtesy of the members of the Lahaina Arts Society, Front Street is a must on any visit. Stop at the Village Galleries, which is Maui's oldest gallery and featured the works of the painters in this year's Maui's Plein Air Invitational. On Friday nights, the galleries on Front Street throw open their doors between 7-10 pm for Art Night, to give the public the opportunity to meet local artists and view their works. If you are in town, I'd highly recommend finishing your evening at Lahaina Grill, where proprietor, Jurg Munch, has elevated local cuisine to an art form.