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Honolulu Museum of Art welcomes “30 Americans” exhibit

HoMA's new director takes the museum into the future

Sponsored by Honolulu Museum of Art

Founded in 1927, the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA) is Hawaii’s largest private presenter of visual arts programs with an internationally recognized collection of more than 50,000 works spanning 5,000 years. In addition, film and concert programs, lectures, art classes and workshops make the museum the city’s cultural hub. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson went to visit the museum to see all it has to offer.

The museum just welcomed Halona Norton Westbrook, its new director. It’s a job she’s been dreaming of since she was a kid.

“I’ve studied museums my whole life and have a passion for connecting what museum’s have to offer with what the community wants and needs,” she says. “Hawaii is such a special place, and I’m so excited for the future of HoMA and what the next 90 years will bring.”

From February 22 – June 21, 2020, the museum will be featuring the 30 Americans exhibit featuring works by 30 contemporary artists connected through their African-American cultural history. The exhibition includes some of the most recognized and influential figures in the art world from the past four decades such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley. These artists create compelling works that refuse to play it safe, taking risks with pieces that are bold, vibrant, provocative, and sometimes confrontational.

“We are offering a slate of public programs designed to open new perspectives in thinking and deepen the way our community connects with the art,” Westbrook says. “These include stimulating discussions with not only the artists, but community leaders, art-making workshops, and photography projects intended to encourage self-reflection and exploration of personal identity.”

In addition to a number of exhibits, HoMA is home to the Honolulu Museum of Art School.

“Education is at the core of who we are. Part of our role is to get out from behind our walls and get into the communities we serve in order to understand what’s relevant to them,” Westbrook says. “HoMA creates that bridge through education, reaching out to title 10 schools where art has all but been forgotten as a curricular subject due to budget cuts.”

Westbrook says  the museum also offers teacher training programs free of charge to the Department of Education, helping educators integrate the arts into their daily curriculum.

For more information: Honolulumuseum.org, or Facebook and Instagram: @honolulumuseum