Hawaii Arts Season

Hula, danced beachside while tiki torches are lit by an athletic Hawaiian boy and a tenor sings Lovely Hula Hands at sunset. Galleries filled with carved tiki figures and predictable watercolor paintings of reef fish or plumeria blossoms. Think this is all you can expect from the arts in Hawaii? If so, you have a real treat in store. What Honolulu and the other islands have to offer is a thriving, exciting, and diverse arts community. There is something for everyone and many things that are totally unexpected.

The inaugural “Hawaii Arts Season” has been set for February 27 to May 2, 2004. But, in reality the “arts season” in the islands is year round. The 2004 “Season,” supported by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and promoted by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, is a tenweek period packed with a diverse selection of art and cultural events. The goal is to etch Hawaii Opera Theatre, the Honolulu Symphony, world-class art museums, multi-ethnic cultural festivals, Broadway-quality productions, internationally acclaimed film festivals, and the many hidden gems firmly into the minds of lovers of the arts. Sun, sand, surf in Hawaii are the best. Add the arts and you have a truly cosmopolitan destination.

Performing Arts

As Diamond Head Theatre heads into its 90th year of continuous operation (Swing!), Army Community Theater (Kiss Me Kate) has another great season, and Manoa Valley Theater (Copacabana) also continues sold out shows, it is a sure bet that you can catch great musicals, comedies and drama on one Honolulu stage or another, any weekend. The lure of warmth and sunshine brings many Broadway performers and directors to do shows in the islands. Other theater companies, like Honolulu Theater For Youth, The Actors Group at the Yellow Brick Studio and TShirt Theatre, produce high quality, innovative, original and traditional shows. In addition to the regular theater locations, productions are frequently offered in art galleries and museums, college stages, churches, schools and even outdoor street venues. A do not-miss is The Arts at Marks Garage, right in the heart of Honolulu China Town, where performance art and fine art are a regular combination. The 40-page TGIF section of the Friday newspaper has complete listings for all shows, including numerous free public performances. Each neighbor island has one or more theater companies.

The “official” Arts Season opens, February 27, with the Hawaii Opera Theatre’s “Merry Widow.” In March the Honolulu Symphonys Masters Series hosts master flutist Sir James Galway. In April, at the Polynesian Cultural Center Amphitheater, audiences will be enthralled by the Whakataetae Maori Song and Dance Competition. On May First, “Lei Day” in the islands, the Waikiki Shell blossoms with the annual lei making competition and the 25th-plus year performance of the Brothers Cazimero classic Hawaiian music concert.

Every Sunday, at 2 p.m. Na Mea Hawaii at Ward Warehouse offers a showcase of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian entertainers in a free concert. Another great spot for entertaiment are the Sunday concerts at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand at the base of Diamond Head in Waikiki. The hundred-plus year old Royal Hawaiian Band plays and hula groups dance, often ollowed by a variety of multiethnic cultural performances.

With exceptional performance venues like the Waikiki Shell, the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, the historic Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu, and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center available, the entire state hosts productions by some of the worlds best performing arts companies and performers. Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, the African world music legend Baaba Maal, the Colorado String Quartet, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and the CHI Chinese Circus are on the calendar for spring of 2004.

Choosing The Right Location For Your Martial Arts School

Setting up your first school can be a hard task, and deciding on the perfect location is absolutely vital. MA Instructor sent Lesley Jackson out to discover the facts on how to discover the best location for you, your business and your students.

From the local park to a misty mountainside, from the Shaolin temple to a student’s garage, there is no definitive location for a martial arts business. But in this modern age of marketing and presentation, finding the perfect location for your school can mean the difference between your enterprise succeeding or folding. If you want to make a decent living from your martial art, you need to think very carefully about where you are going to have to locate your school and avoid the pitfalls that could make your business go under within its first year.

Starting Up

One of the first decisions you are going to have to make is for what purpose are you going to run your classes? Are you interested in a non-profit making community project, whereby you are able to make your living elsewhere, or do you want to make money from your martial art and run it like a profitable business? For those seeking non-profit social businesses, there is funding available in the form of grants from associations like the National Lottery and the Sport England/Scotland/Wales projects. Contact the local county council’s sport development officer for advice and consultancy, as they offer funds, investment and work space for this type of scheme.

However, for the majority of school owners, your location is going to be your biggest expenditure as you will need a place to train as well as run your school. Book some time with your small business adviser at your local bank and present him with a viable business plan, and investigate the potential for further financial aid through government schemes tailored for new aspiring social business enterprises. There are hundreds of grants available and the Department for Trade and Industry’s website is a good place to start as well as Business Link, which has information regarding financial awards both on a national and regional level. Contact details can be found at the end of the article.

Established Locations

If you are starting your school from scratch and looking for your first location, you may want to use a space that is shared throughout the community as it will be considerably cheaper than finding your own exclusive training hall. One of the best options is a local leisure center due to its already active clientèle and prime location. Most recreational centers in this country are run by local councils and they will usually have a space big enough to practice and teach martial arts which will not be expensive to hire. They also have the advantage of very good changing and parking facilities and you will have to spend less on advertising as you will already have a ready made market of physically active people who will be interested in your martial activity. If your martial art contains sparring of some kind, you may find that you will have to take out additional insurance to cover this, but this cost is easily comparable against renting your own space. The only drawback may be the time factor, as you will have to arrange your classes in agreement to the leisure center’s schedule of events.

Another option is hiring a school hall. You will have a large space that is cheap and well maintained and usually available all year round. Due to these reasons, this will probably make it one of the most popular options but you do need to consider a few points before you march into your local infant school. Choose and research your demographic area carefully. Pay careful attention to the people living in the immediate surrounding areas as this is where you will be drawing the majority of your student base. You need to target families with a disposable income level high enough to pay for lessons, gradings and tournaments, and charge accordingly in order to see your students return and remain for the long term. Unfortunately, it is a truth to assume that an area that looks run down may not be the best place to start your first business as the surrounding population will not have the disposable income to spend on what can be an expensive hobby. However, this could be a good place to start for a non-profit community project which would help to build up your reputation as a martial arts teacher. Once your reputation as a good instructor spreads, you won’t have to work so hard to find your students. Sensei Gavin Mulholland, who is a Chief Instructor of Go-ju Ryu Karate, comments that “it is up to the students to find you, not the other way round.”

Other considerations to think about when using a school hall compared to a leisure center is that you will not have the same level of footfall by being located away from the town center. Therefore, more money will have to be dedicated to marketing costs to attract your clients. This needn’t take up a large chunk of your start-up revenue but it may take up your time, so you will have to advertise in local newspaper and take the time to do a leaflet drop around a two or three mile radius of the school. Until you have an established chain of schools, people are unlikely to travel far for their first lessons and so the surrounding catchment area of your first school will dictate whether your potential business will succeed or fail.

Getting Your Own Space

Another option, or the next stage in your business plan, should be to acquire your own premises from which to run your school. Sensei Mulholland has his own dedicated space because “there is something about a genuine dojo that absorbs all the energy and feeds it back to those who train there.” Much like choosing where to live, you will have the option to either rent or buy your own space and the adage of finding a suitable location is as important for your martial arts business as it is for your house. There will be advantages and disadvantages for both and it will depend on what stage your business is at. Where you are located could spell the difference between your business making a profit or failing.

When choosing a space to rent for your martial arts school, unless you already have a loyal and supportive student base who you can rely on to travel to your school, you will need to choose somewhere in a densely populated area that is easily accessible. Although the cheapest commercial space could be a business unit on an industrial estate, unless you master a very good advertising campaign, you will not attract any footfall customers as they simply won’t find you. The luxury of having your own space will come at a price, (namely your rent, utility bills and council tax) so you must have a sufficient number of students to cover your overheads. One idea could be to lease one of the cheaper shop units in a shopping center. The rent would be less than the prime locations that the chain stores will inhabit, and you will be able to take advantage of the large amount of footfall custom that will form your customer base. Karen Vactor and Susan Peterson, co-authors of the book Starting and Running Your Own Martial Arts School, confirm that, “a good walk-by traffic will bring people into your school. It may pay for itself and then some.” You need to acknowledge that your martial arts business is as much a commercial enterprise as selling TVs or shoes and that you are encouraging your customers to be spending their disposable income as such.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Buying your own space, could you and should you? To convince a mortgage lender to give you the money, you would really need to be an established martial arts business that has a proven track record of making a profit. This will be the most expensive option, as not only will you have the mortgage repayments and the rising interest rates to consider, but you will also have to cover the cost of the building’s insurance and maintenance. However, you will have the comfort of being able to customize your own space specifically to your own needs, such as installing a sprung floor, attaching screwing kick bags to the ceiling and having the mirrors and pictures of your own choice on the wall. Sensei Mulholland speaks about the atmosphere of a purpose built training hall: “I love the power that you can feel in a genuine dojo – the sights, sounds, smells and the feel of the place.” It will, of course, be a good investment but there are risks involved and you need to be brutally honest with yourself before you make that type of financial commitment.

The only other consideration to take into account when finding your own space for your martial arts business is size, as not only will you need to accommodate a class but you may need to run a grading or even a tournament. However, this needn’t be a problem, as hiring a bigger temporary space for the day in the shape of a sports hall is quite easy. If you are affiliated to a particular martial arts association then you could collaborate with other local schools to put on a joint event and halve the costs and organization.