Academy of Arts breakingBy Tim Ryan
ground for new pavilion
The Honolulu Academy of Arts breaks ground on its new $8.5-million pavilion complex later this month following an 18-month donor campaign. The project is expected to take up to 18 months; grand opening activities are scheduled for January of 2001.
The ground breaking ceremony is 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23. at the corner of Kinau and Victoria Street.
In the two-story structure the first floor will be used for changing exhibitions to allow the gallery to be larger, more flexible, and better equipped than the current space. This will provide greater opportunities for the academy to present diverse exhibitions, according to academy spokesperson Charlie Aldinger.
The second floor will display historic, Hawaii-based art and artifacts representing a pictorial record of the state from the time of European contact to the present day. The museum's Hawaii collection provides a compelling reflection of Hawaii history and its artists and will be the only installation of this nature or magnitude in the United States, Aldinger said.
The Hawaiian Gallery will include an introduction to indigenous Hawaiian art, early Western views of Hawaii, and the art of contemporary Hawaii-based artists. The gallery's pictorial reflections of the changing life and landscapes of post European-contact Hawaii, as well as its exploration of Hawaii's changing artistic traditions as the island communities grew and became less isolated from the outside world during the 19th and 20th centuries, will offer glimpses of Hawaii's rich and dynamic cultural heritage, Aldinger said.
The pavilion complex will include a new and expanded structure for the Academy Shop and The Garden Cafe. The Academy Shop will double from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet and be relocated to the area presently occupied by the Cafe. (The existing Academy Shop will remain open during construction during normal museum hours.)
The Garden Cafe is being relocated to the Victoria Street side of the new Pavilion complex with new kitchen facilities and a seating configuration that overlooks the outdoor pavilion.
(The Garden Cafe will move to the Education Wing Courtyard on Sept. 19 and continue to operate throughout the construction phase.)
"First and foremost, we are developing, expanding, and improving the state's leading arts institution to better serve the people of Hawaii," said Academy Director George Ellis.
"These major renovations and new facilities will also position the academy to take its place as a world-class museum in the next millennium and serve as a magnet for continuing cultural awareness and appreciation."
The new pavilion complex, funded entirely by private donations, will be at the Kinau Street entrance where the staff parking lot and cafe is now housed.
Honolulu-based architect John Hara of John Hara Associates will design the new building. He designed the existing Luce Wing at the Academy. Hara and his colleagues are working with George Sexton Associates Ltd. of Washington, D.C., which designed the reinstallation of the Asian art galleries. Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. is the general contractor.
The Academy is Hawaii's only general art museum, with average annual attendance of about 250,000 visitors.
In addition to the Pavilion project, a physical infrastructure is being built that allows the continuing development of programs, activities and presentations, Ellis said.
This groundbreaking event is the latest stage in the era of rebuilding and renovation at the academy. The program began in November 1997 with the opening of the Sullivan Family Gallery of Chinese Art and The Christiansen Fund Gallery of Indonesian Art.
In the past year, the Academy has completely renovated the major galleries of the Asian Art Wing, which opened last November; constructed a new education center, which opened in May; and is renovating the East-West Gallery complex, which is scheduled to open in mid-November.
As for behind-the-scenes projects in non-public access areas, the academy has improved the infrastructure for preservation and protection of its growing painting and textile collections. Remodeled storage spaces for textiles were completed last year.
The painting vault will be completed next month with state-of-the-art preservation and storage attributes, Aldinger said.
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