The grand Central Courtyard—the first thing visitors see upon entering the museum is getting a “groundbreaking” makeover throughout April. The museum’s operations team, with the help of Green Thumb Landscaping, is taking jackhammers, hoes, shovels and pruners to the entryways and planters around the courtyard for a beautification overhaul.
According to Kris Aihara, assistant to the director of operations, “We need to rejuvenate the courtyard from all of the use. We’re redoing the planters, softening up the corners, re-sodding, adding more sandstones in entryways, and also widening them up.” Conveniently, the large sandstone blocks are from a nearby source: the museum’s property. The stones have been stored around various lawns on the premises for years, waiting for a permanent home.
Staff also tore out the hedge in front of the stage that is home to Antoine Bourdelle’s La Grande Pénélope, revealing a cracked, crumbling wall. Maintenance assistant Yong Wilson patched it up and painted it—the courtyard is already looking more airy and open.
In addition to regular foot traffic, the courtyard plays host to visitors’ blankets and mats during Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday; temporary dance floors during ARTafterDARK, concerts, and special events; and performance art such as Andy Graydon’s recent Garden Paths. The well-used and well-worn space is getting a well-deserved rest and facelift.
The team is working hard to complete the work in time for the Garden Club of Honolulu’s Shangri La: The Flower Show, which opens May 8. And they’re moving quickly—what looked like rubble and ruins the last week of March has already been transformed into the stone deltas that will welcome guests for years to come.