Art collector’s cheap solution for beautifying Ala Moana park gains traction

Updated: Apr. 4, 2019 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One day not that long ago, Waikiki resident Tom Sebas rode a Biki Bike through Ala Moana Regional Park to look at the condition of its wooden benches.

He realized most of them look worn out.

“Sixty-four out of 100 benches are in terrible shape right now,” he said.

Sebas is an art collector and works at a gallery. He thinks the city should invite artists to paint the benches with colorful artwork.

"It is something that is being done around the country, and I think it's something that can be done to beautify this park," he said.

He said the park benches could look as cool as the murals that dress up buildings in Kakaako, on a smaller scale of course.

The idea came from a painted park bench he saw in Washington state.

"I said, 'This could work in Hawaii,'" he said.

A quick Google search pulls up lots of pictures of painted park benches all over the mainland.

Sebas sent his suggestion to the city, which says it’s doable.

"We're willing to collaborate with other groups, as well, so we just need to get a proposal," Parks and Recreation Department director Michele Nekota said.

It’s been done before.

The city worked with artists who painted over electrical boxes in Kaimuki and who painted a wall mural mural at Kalanianaole Beach Park.

Ala Moana Park user Lillian Lacio likes Sebas’s suggestion.

“The beach is right there," she said. “Put some nice colors on the benches because they don’t look so good right now.”

Sebas said if it happens the paintings should have local themes.

“I’m thinking turtles, dolphins, whales, Hawaii flowers, all kinds of beautiful Hawaii style art on a park bench,” he said.

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