I start my first HoMA blog post with a thank you—to the board members, donors, volunteers, docents, staff, teachers, students and many other supporters and friends that help make the Honolulu Museum of Art one of the most wonderful museums in the world.
Given that I have been intimately involved with this museum since I was five, it is not an exaggeration to say that this institution has occupied my thoughts practically my entire life, and to be given the opportunity to serve HoMA and you as director is, for me, the ultimate honor and privilege. Please know that I will dedicate my career to advancing our museum to new heights.
Since 1927, this institution has affected the people in the entire state of Hawai‘i. The responsibility for the arts education of our citizens and visitors is indeed a noble mission and one that is critical to the health and future of our society. However, as government support wanes, the museum must increase its activities in an organized and systematic approach to fill this growing educational and cultural gap. Our people need us to be an efficient and effective organization, and I will do all I can to make this happen.
Even though I have been in office for only seven weeks, I see three obvious aspects of the museum that I believe need to be developed as part of the larger institutional strategy:
• We must raise the international profile of the museum, so that more people all over the world want to visit.
• We must continue to make the museum relevant to the people of Hawai‘i, so that we have a more educated and informed population.
• We must operate the museum in a sustainable way, so that it is financially healthy enough to serve the public in the most effective and appropriate manner.
These seem like big, broad goals, but they can serve as an important way to organize our approaches to many issues. I also see them as absolutely essential if we want to further our great institution and develop a great future for arts and culture in Hawai‘i.
Sean O’Harrow, Ph.D.