The year is coming to a close—the time when many of us make gifts to the organizations we love the most. For those of you who received our Annual Fund letter requesting your support, I hope you give generously. For those of you who didn’t, it’s easy to make a donation online.

The museum has had a busy 2013—we’ve seen increased attendance, a boost in students going on school tours, and crowd-pleasing exhibitions such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai‘i Pictures.

Since July, our Donor Services staff has been keeping an eye on an exciting trend: a dramatic increase in new members—especially members who are under 35 years old. Our database reveals that 200 to 300 new younger members are joining the museum every month! The bump is due to several factors but at the forefront is our strong educational programming (school tours, outreach, Art School), our popular ARTafterDARK event, an energetic social media strategy, and a growing perception that the museum is the “it” place for art and culture. And, of course, our new membership structure, featuring the option to join for just $25 and free admission for all people age 17 and under, makes us even more accessible. Your generous commitment throughout the year makes our important education programs and free access for developing minds possible.

Just as important as these big-picture changes are the smaller details—like flowers. The museum had long been known for its bold floral arrangements enhancing the visitor experience. The living displays are currently thanks to the talented Brian Choy, who has led a group of volunteers who create the floral works of art (and he also created our lei garden at the Art School). After 12 years, he is ready to step back a little. Fortunately, Joyce Tomonari, a 17-year student of Sogetsu Ikebana, has agreed to lead the flower power team. We all look forward to seeing her continuing the museum’s blooming tradition.

We hope you come to visit your museum often over the next few months—we have a full slate of programming for the exhibition Decisive Moments: Photographs from the Cherye R. and James F. Pierce Collection. It kicks off with a gallery talk by curator James Jensen on Jan 9. If you go to all of the free lectures and discussions, you’ll be an expert on photography!

I wish you a healthy and Happy New Year,

Stephan