Friday, September 24, 1999


Art academy plans
renovation, works
toward endowment

By Tim Ryan


In its most ambitious fund-raising effort ever, the Honolulu Academy of Arts has announced plans to raise $25 million for new construction, renovation and an endowment to cover its annual operating costs.

The Renaissance Campaign will focus in part on retooling the academy's educational capabilities, because, academy officials said yesterday, a critical need exists to improve opportunities for cultural literacy and understanding among children.

The academy's board of trustees last year voted for a major fund-raising campaign to increase space and improve facilities for the 21st century.

The improvements and infusion of endowment funds will transform the academy "into a fully equipped resource for ... Hawaii, and increase its status as a national and international destination for visitors," said George R. Ellis, academy president and director.

So far, $18.8 million in gifts and pledges have come from members of the museum's board foundations and major supporters. More than 50 percent of the money has come from mainland foundations and private donors. The largest donation of $5 million is from the Christensen Fund, a California-based foundation that has supported the academy for years.

The largest local foundation gift is $1 million from the Cooke Foundation Ltd.

Officials said endowment funds will allow the academy to maintain adequate staffing for curatorial and administrative excellence.

Other plans call for renovation and installation of the Chinese, Japanese, Pan-Asian Buddhist and Indonesian galleries opened last year. Southeast Asian, Korean and Indian galleries are slated for the future.

The academy's role as educator will remain central to its mission, responding to public school funding cutbacks and reduction in arts programming, Ellis said.

The academy also is reinstalling permanent galleries. This project, which opens in November, will allow the academy to expand its presentation of material from a single general gallery to three themed galleries.

The new $8.5-million Luce Pavilion complex will complete the architectural infrastructure necessary for the next century, Ellis said. The Henry Luce Foundation recently gave the academy $3 million to build the complex.

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