art of books

Craig DeSilva
May 02, 2019

Stories are told through both art and books. And throughout the month of May, you can enjoy both under one roof in downtown Honolulu.

“Every Picture Tells a Story,” an art exhibit and sale by Friends of the Library of Hawaii, opens May 3, during First Friday at The ARTS at Marks Garage, which also houses one of the Friends’ bookstores. 

“Just like we’re able to get books back into the community, this is a way for us to find good homes for art pieces that are donated to us,” says Nainoa Mau, Friends of the Library’s executive director.

"Every Picture Tells a Story" brings art and books together in an exhibit at The ARTS at Marks Garage.

This is the first time that Friends of the Library will be making its art available outside its annual book sales. There will be more than 100 gently used affordably priced art pieces, including paintings, lithographs, and posters. Friends of the Library of Hawaii volunteers restore the art pieces, cleaning, re-matting, and sometimes re-framing with frames donated by Robyn Buntin of Honolulu Gallery. The proceeds will fund literacy and other programs for Hawaii libraries. “It’s the intersection of art and books,” says Mau. 



ARTS program director Reiko Ho with gallery manager Ryan Sueoka in front of the exhibit's Hawaiiana collection.

Several years ago, a print that someone bought at a Friends’ book sale for $5 was appraised for about $600 on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. Although you may not find that good of a deal, there’s no telling what kinds of treasures you’ll discover.

Buy a cookbook and whimsical food-themed art at the same time. 

More than just pictures and paintings, the art sale includes Asian figurines, platters, and calligraphy.  

Indonesian shadow puppets are one of the many art pieces for sale.

When buying art, choose a piece that speaks to you. 

In addition to the sale, the month-long show will feature watercolor and book upcycling classes and a program with writer and multimedia artist Thad Higa. “There are a lot of people doing creative things with books and literature,” says Mau. “After all, authors are artists, too.”

There’s been growing evidence showing the benefits art has on health and well-being. It can help relieve stress and anxiety. So even if you’re not an art collector, buy something nice to hang on your wall and enjoy throughout the year.

For more information, visit the Friends of the Library of Hawaii website.

Edmay Apana is a volunteer in the Friends of the Library bookstore at ARTS.


More literary events around the 808:

  • Hawaii Book and Music Festival, May 4–5, Honolulu’s Frank F. Fasi Civic Center.
  • Summer Reading Program, “A Universe of Stories,” June 1–July 13, Hawaii’s 51 libraries.
  • 72nd Annual Friends of the Library of Hawaii Book Sale, June 22–30, McKinley High School Cafeteria

Are you a Jim Nabors fan? 

The Hollywood entertainer and Hawaii resident was an avid book lover and collector. You can own a book from his personal library when they go on sale this month at the Friends of the Library of Hawaii bookstore at The ARTS at Marks Garage in downtown Honolulu. About 200 affordably priced books will be available for purchase. Nabors’ estate donated the books after he died in 2017 at his Black Point home. Many of the books either have Nabors’ signature or are inscribed with messages to him from authors and friends.

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