The museum often features storytellers at events—it is a great way to engage children (and adults) and Honolulu is home to a roster of talented yarn spinners. Stories and books were the theme of April’s Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Open Book—the courtyards bustled with kids making collages inspired by children’s books, meeting local authors and illustrators, and trading books at Bank of Hawaii’s Pop-Up Book Shop. And the Portraiture Gallery was filled with giggles as Jeff Gere practiced his craft. Parents and children gathered in the center of the gallery, their eyes following the animated storyteller from portrait to portrait, as he “conversed” with the works of art.

Jeff brings art to life through is captivating, entertaining stories, and often leaves audience members with huge smiles on their faces. Jeff read and told stories from the portrait’s point of view. By telling stories from the perspective of people in the paintings and sculptures, such as Ada in Alex Katz’s Ada with Black Scarf, kids begin interacting with the work of art in a new way.

“What I love about storytelling,” says Jeff, “is we all start together in a room—like the gorgeous rooms in the Honolulu Museum of Art—and pretty quickly, we are deep in a forest, or flying on a carpet, or swimming in the sea. And as the adventure ends, you walk away a little taller, a bit richer, in a world with a little more sparkle.”

In a world where kids increasingly spend more time staring into computer and smart phone screens, an ancient tradition like storytelling has become a refreshing, new experience. Jeff believes stories can help exercise the “muscles of imagination” and he loves leading that kind of workout.

Interested in experiencing Jeff’s storytelling? He will be at this month’s Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Oh My Dad! on June 18, telling stories about father figures.

See the full schedule.