Aloha Museum Members,

As you probably already know, on Oct. 29, the museum announced its new director—Halona Norton-Westbrook, Ph.D., who starts her position on Jan. 6. She comes to us from the Toledo Museum of Art, where she served as the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Her appointment is another important step in ushering in a new and exciting era for our museum. Together with our Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers, we have created considerable momentum toward fulfilling our mission, which I’m confident will continue masterfully under the guidance of HoMA’s new leader.

In my time as your Interim Director, I’ve had the great fortune to see and experience first-hand how hard everyone at HoMA works to create the engaging art experiences and education that our audiences enjoy in our galleries, courtyards, classrooms and studios, and throughout our entire community. We have done much to set the stage for what’s to come, and we’re excited to build upon our success in three key ways: 

Instill a sense of place: Our identity is and must continue to be intrinsically reflective of our sense of place in Hawai‘i. We are an integral part of the local community, and we must continue to advocate for the advancement of art as an enabler to build and strengthen the communities that we serve. We’re excited that community events like Family Sunday presented by Bank of Hawaii Foundation and ARTafterDARK sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines draw new, diverse audiences each month. Our educational and outreach programs continue to engage thousands of students from across O‘ahu—many of whom will experience an art museum for the very first time at HoMA.  

Support the people behind the art: We must continue to inspire people to unlock their personal and professional potential through art by creating a museum lifestyle for all audiences, demographics and backgrounds. Our classes demonstrate what a painstaking, complicated process it can be to work in certain art mediums, inspiring a deeper appreciation of an artist’s craft and expertise. From museum tours to dialog-forming programs like A Think & A Drink and the thought-provoking films, performances and community collaborations at the Doris Duke Theatre, HoMA facilitates deeper discussions about art and life in ways that are profound, sometimes controversial, but in the end can always move us forward together.     

Provide amazing programs: The centerpiece of our efforts is the collection, preservation, presentation and creation of amazing art across all mediums, genres and generations. We create many rich and unique opportunities for the entire spectrum of art enthusiasts to connect with us, learn with us and to grow with us. We’ve been very deliberate in planning captivating exhibitions, including the highly anticipated line up of 30 Americans, FestPac 2020, Artists of Hawai‘i, and, of course, our ongoing commitment to showcasing remarkable local talent through exhibitions and programs in partnership with the community—such as the recent Hawai‘i Craftsmen show at the Art School.

I’ve been honored to be a part of this museum’s growth and evolution, and will continue to play a role in supporting HoMA as a Trustee, because I believe very strongly in all of the good that HoMA weaves throughout the fabric of our lives. 

Mark Burak, Trustee and Interim Director