Since 2004, Bank of Hawaii has supported the museum’s efforts to make its collection as accessible as possible, especially for children, through its sponsorship of Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday. Thanks to Bank of Hawaii, the museum is able to open its doors for free to the public on the third Sunday of every month. Last year, the event reached more than 21,000 people.

One of Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday’s biggest champions is Bank of Hawaii Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Susan Ing, who joined the bank the year the monthly event began. She talked about the importance of arts education to the bank, and where she sees the program going in the future.

What does partnering with the museum mean to Bank of Hawaii?
Supporting the arts and culture is very important. We believe that everyone should have access and exposure to quality arts programming, whether it be music, art or writing. The rewards are undeniable. Children with an interest in the arts are more likely to volunteer and become more civic- and socially-minded citizens.

We hope to make it possible for people, especially youth and families, to enjoy the museum at no charge through Family Sunday. The fact that Family Sunday offers free admission on every third Sunday allows families to know when they can plan a trip to enjoy the great exhibitions, themes and activities.

How has Family Sunday changed since it started in 2004?
We’re very excited about the evolution of Family Sunday. It has grown as an outlet for culturally relevant efforts in the community. Bank of Hawaii’s support of Mālama Honua was the impetus for Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Following Stars in March of 2015. The theme was aimed at celebrating the Hōkūle‘a’s ongoing voyage and inviting the public to engage with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and learn about the voyage.

Family Sundays also provides exposure to people who may not have access to the museum otherwise. It’s an opportunity for them to learn and be involved in the community. The locations at Beretania Street, Spalding House and the Art School are convenient for many to get to.

Kids learning about the Hōkūleʻa at Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Following Stars

Kids learning about the Hōkūleʻa at Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Following Stars

Any programming coming up that you’re particularly excited about?
Well, I’m excited that we’re celebrating the progress of Hōkūle‘a’s worldwide voyage again in May, and Art2Dtoo should bring out some talented makers in September. But in general, we look forward to all the hands-on activities and learning experiences offered by the museum. The arts and crafts are always top-notch and provides other groups—such as dance groups—the opportunity to participate in cultural celebrations, such as Chinese New Year—which is an important time of year for residents of Hawai‘i.

We hope to continue hosting other activities, such as the free screening of the film Under the Blood Red Sun at the Doris Duke Theatre for Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Koyo in 2014. We were thrilled to be able to share the movie with the public, meet and greet the cast and crew, and give away books for an autograph session with the writer—local boy Graham Salisbury—and the movie crew.

Through the BOH Foundation and Bank of Hawaii, we proudly support a number of arts and cultural organizations, including Diamond Head Theatre—of which we are a sponsor—as well as the Honolulu Theatre for Youth and the Hawaii Theatre Center. Our community benefits when there is a vibrant arts and culture base, and we will continue to play a role in bringing enriching cultural experiences to be enjoyed by our residents and visitors.

In addition, the bank has a significant art collection that is featured throughout bank buildings and branches across the state. In fact, one of the highlights of the museum’s painting collection, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming by Thomas Moran, was a gift from the bank in 1970.

On a personal note, have you have had an art experience that influenced you?
It’s important to expose Hawai‘i’s youth to the arts—and I mean early and often. I’m a good example of that. One summer when I was in grade school, my family took a long road trip from Los Angeles to Boston. Seven of us packed into a Ford LTD and drove across the country. We stopped at every historic site, and every art museum. At first, my siblings and I were bored with the museums, feeling as though we were viewing the same southwestern Indian artifacts over and over. But as we drove further east and north, I began to see how the differences in culture, people, and environment influenced the art and what I learned about each region. By the time we reached Boston, there was no bigger thrill than spending hours at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, exposed to everything from Africa tribal art to European suits of armor. For me, it took a summer and a road trip, but for our local families, it can happen in just one Sunday afternoon at HoMA.