A Contemporary Art Showcase

By Allison Wong
Wednesday - November 10, 2009
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By Allison Wong
Interim Executive Director of The Contemporary Museum

On three and a half acres in Makiki Heights sits a jewel in the center of Honolulu. The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (TCM) is the only museum in Hawaii devoted exclusively to contemporary art. TCM provides an accessible public forum for challenging, provocative forms of visual art and expression in a unique, lush natural environment. Our mission is to develop a public appreciation and understanding of contemporary art through exhibition and education programs, through the collection and preservation of art since 1940, and to preserve, maintain and present the historic Cooke-Spalding House and Gardens for the enjoyment and enrichment of all Hawaii’s residents and visitors.

I am thrilled to have been named the interim executive director of TCM. I was previously associate curator/curator of TCM at First Hawaiian Center from 1993 to 2007. During that time I organized more than 100 exhibitions of Hawaii and Mainland artists with relationships to Hawaii at TCM at First Hawaiian Center and in the TCM Biennials of Hawaii Artists VI and VII. I return to the museum after working in the for-profit world at the Fine Arts Associates and in the government sector at the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts as director of the Art in Public Places Program.

Raised in Los Angeles by parents who collect contemporary art, I grew to understand and appreciate the significance of the work being created by artists now. Contemporary art is important to the vitality and growth of creative expression, and for understanding and interpreting the meaning of what is happening around us, politically, economically and socially.

(from left) Scott Sakaguchi, Ray Uyehara, Salvina Sandalo, Jose Oriola, John Talkington, Tae Kitikata, Inger Tully, Garry Kaaihue, Allison Wong, Jay Jenson, Quala-Lynn Young, Rujunko Pugh, Sheryl Kramer, Bob Madison, John Koga and Mike Chock

During these difficult economic times, in which we have experienced firsthand how culture and the arts are being cut and having to fight for each dollar, TCM has challenged itself to forge ahead with business as usual. I am fortunate to work with a very talented and resourceful staff that has been able to sustain our exhibition and outreach programs. TCM also has been the beneficiary of an extraordinary corps of volunteers, without whom we could not accomplish all that we do.

As TCM moves into its 21st year, we are presenting an exciting exhibition titled At 21: Recent and Promised Gifts in Honor of TCM’s 20th Anniversary from Nov. 14 to Jan. 24, 2010, highlighting the remarkable growth of the museum’s collection with the help of many donors. We continue to feature Hawaii artists at our venue at First Hawaiian Center, having opened a unique exhibition of works by the members of one family of artists: Hiroki, Setsuko and Miho Morinoue from the Island of Hawaii.

We are concentrating on building our membership and visitor base with partnerships and innovative ideas such as yoga on the lawn, art activities for Furlough Fridays and even a skateboarding expo, while continuing to present our longstanding programs.

Become a member to keep informed about TCM offerings and get involved with all your local arts organizations, for they are essential to the vibrancy and richness of our community.

The Contemporary Museum is located at 2411 Makiki Heights Drive. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free admission on the third Thursday of the month. www.tcmhi.org .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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