Artists, artisans and arts leaders met with business and community partners last week at the Palace Theatre to share strategies for building a thriving arts economy on Hawai’i island. The Summit highlighted the role of artists and the arts as a leading force for change in our communities. Artists from across the spectrum met and challenged each other to collaborate, create and build for the future. Artists &arts leaders, Nelson and Kainoa Makua reflected on their art and their efforts to build a community for Hawaiian artists and artisans. Having grown the Merrie Monarch arts fair to legendary status, they are introducing an August arts event in addition to their holiday art events and both artists shared the importance of recognizing local partners, local artists and the people of Hawai’i who contribute to these events each year. University of Hawai’i Professor Emerita &performing arts icon, Jackie Pualani Johnson, reviewed the rich history of performing arts in Hawai’i island, identifying the many cultural and theatrical performances which have contributed to the foundation that exists today, with performances and artists in every community in Hawai’i. Johnson recognized the critical need for infrastructure for artists and arts organizations to be able to deliver art here on the Big Island.