808 Urban is a collective of community cultural workers: artists, organizers and volunteers committed to improving the quality of life for our communities through arts programming. In all of our work, we strive to integrate the highest levels of artistic innovation with grassroots cultural organizing for systemic, progressive social change.
808 Urban started off as a backyard project six years ago by the graffiti artist John “Prime” Hina who recognized the value of mentoring at-risk youth through urban arts and cultural education. Since then, 808 Urban has grown into a respected local community arts organization, while “staying true to the streets.” Since 2006, 808 Urban has created over 50 large-scale mural projects throughout Hawai’i, offered over a hundred free arts workshops, collaborated with dozens of local organizations and businesses, and has recently opened a new store and community arts hub called The Refuge.
OUR MENTORSHIP SERVICES
With the many recent budget cuts that have led to a rising number of Hawai’i’s schools cutting their arts departments and the increasing economic division, particularly effecting Native Hawaiian and immigrant communities, 808 Urban has been faced with an imperative responsibility to step up our local support by expanding our free arts and mentorship programming. We believe that through mentoring youth in the urban arts, based upon a platform of cultural and political education, grassroots community organizing, entrepreneurial skill sets, and community muralism rooted in graffiti, 808 Urban plays a vital role within shaping Hawai’i’s up and coming leaders with four main branches of arts programming:
THE REFUGE – 808 Urban’s community arts hub and store for, lectures, events, and everyday gathering.
COMMISSION A COMMUNITY MURAL – Providing large-scale community murals throughout Hawaii since 2006.
JUNIOR BOARD INITIATIVE- Comprehensive mentorship program focusing on a movement to unite our youth, while inspiring Hawaii’s next leaders to mobilize and govern action toward improving the quality of life within their own communities.
HI STORY – 808 Urban’s outlet for community arts events and outreach workshops in the urban arts.
JOHN “PRIME” HINA
John is a product of the housing projects, having been a well-known graffiti and gang tagger who got into trouble with violence and drugs. Since the late 1980’s, Prime has become a successful community worker, business and family man. In turning his life around, John has found a highly effective way of steering youth from the dangers inherent in growing up in at-risk neighborhoods, and turning them into community-minded artists and cultural workers. His unique method of youth development is rooted in the art of graffiti muralism, a visual vocabulary of the streets that he has harnessed as a cultural tool for positive social change. John has created over 50 public murals and coordinated numerous public arts events on O’ahu in the past 8 years. These efforts have spearheaded the creation of 808 Urban. Check out Prime’s Portfolio