The ARTS at Marks Garage restructures with the aid of Kumu Kahua Theatre’s Managing Director

HONOLULU, HI – “After sixteen years as an artist-run, nonprofit community arts center and incubator for over a dozen performance and visual arts groups, the ARTS at Marks Garage will be undergoing an organizational transformation in order stabilize its financial outlook.” Says Board of Directors President Noelle Kahanu: “The ARTS at Marks Garage has been critical to the creative revitalization of the downtown-Chinatown area. Over 45,000 people come through our doors annually to attend a wide array of exhibitions, performances, and programs. We’ve weathered many difficulties and downturns, and I’m proud that we are still standing, but it has not come without cost.” Added Noelle, “We are extremely grateful for the lifeline given to us by Donna Blanchard.”


Beginning August 1, 2017, Donna Blanchard will step in as consulting director for the organization.  She will also continue her post as Managing Director of Kumu Kahua Theatre. Donna has extensive experience restructuring non-profit arts organizations to better manage the businesses aspects required to serve the community. Kumu Kahua Theatre itself was on the brink of closing when they recruited Donna in 2012.  Since then she has helped the organization to be a robust cultural landmark that operates with a healthy financial foundation.


“I am thrilled about the win/win/win synergy we can build between The ARTS at Marks, Kumu Kahua Theatre and our broad community of artists” says Donna.  “The mission of this place is so unique and extraordinary… now that this wheel has been invented, every city should strive to have an amazing place like this for artists to collaborate, work, exhibit and play.  We all owe Executive Director Rich Richardson and his Board of Directors a debt of gratitude for their unwavering support of this mission through thick and thin.”


As part of the restructuring, the Executive Director position will be reallocated among several positions.  Other changes that will emerge as Donna and the Board of Directors, Partners and other stakeholders determine a positive strategy to direct and manage the organization through financial recovery and future sustainability.


After sixteen years on staff, Rich will be transitioning onto the Board. Rich‘s legacy at The ARTS at Marks Garage includes co-founding First Friday Honolulu and the Chinatown Artists’ Lofts, and nurturing a multi-cultural and multidisciplinary community arts center based on collaboration and cooperation. He will soon be launching a new project building custom tiny homes.


Says Rich, “these administrative changes complement our recent physical transformations, which include a more open floor plan that was designed for us pro-bono by Group 70. We also want to thank building owner Andy Friedlander for his unwavering support, and all the others who have stood by us through these many years.” He concluded: “This will be the same great community art space — with bold new leadership for the next generation.”

For more information, please contact Donna Blanchard at or 808-536-4222.

The ARTS at Marks Garage is supported in part by, Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts, Mayor’s Office on Culture and the Arts, Cooke Foundation, Colliers International, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Andis Wines, Kona Brewing Company and 1001 Friends.


Partners of The ARTS at Marks Garage include Arts District Merchant Association (ADMA), Charisma Industries, Cojoda Productions, Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival, Hawai‘i Watercolor Society, Heart Dance of Consciousness, improvHI, Pacific Tongues/Youth Speaks Hawai‘i, PA‘I Foundation, PlayBuilders of Hawai‘i Theater Company, T-Rx Entertainment, LLC/Hallowbaloo Music + Arts Festival, Rhizome Theater Lab, and travel2change.


Kumu Kahua productions are supported in part by The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Also paid for in part by the taxpayers of the City & County of Honolulu; the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts; The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, McInerny Foundation (Bank of Hawaii, Trustee); Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation, The Atherton Foundation, Hawaiian Electric Company; The Star-Advertiser and other foundations, businesses and patrons.




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