It’s an old cliché that a picture is worth a 1,000 words and the same might be said about a painting, sculpture or a piece of cloth.
The Honolulu Academy of Arts displays all of these mementos of time to the general public.
The academy offers discount prices to service members and their families including a free admission day every first Sunday of the month.
Engulfed with the enriched background of numerous countries only a well-travelled person may see, service members and their families pay only a small fee to spend a day touring past and present artwork.
Displaying relics of past and more modern-day art, the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the land it’s built on has a history of its own.
Envisioned and founded April 8, 1927 by the late Anna R. Cooke, what she once called her home, has blossomed into a one-block array of cultural heritage.
Determined to share her passion for art with the children of Hawaii, Cooke collected pieces from around the world until the collection became so large, it outgrew her home.
The small plot of land has become Hawaii’s largest private host of a visual arts program and an accredited encyclopedic art museum, presenting a permanent collection of more than 50,000 works of art.
“We expanded from a visual arts museum to a cultural hub of Honolulu,” said Lesa Griffith, the museum’s director of communications. “It’s something for everybody in all avenues of the art (world).”
The academy offers guided tours for schools and the public, or for the avid art enthusiast, the opportunity to explore as an individual.
“The glowing rooms bring to life the ensemble of a subtle lifestyle of artists and their visions through ceramics, sculptures, paintings and textiles,” said Morgan Magill, a Honolulu resident touring the museum.
Magill said she’s recollected many of the artists names, but has never actually seen their work up close. Viewers can move from room to room and watch history unfold from Asian art, devoted to Japan, China, Korea and many other countries to European art featuring the Renaissance era to 20th century art.
“There’s paintings you may have seen a million times, but there’ll still be something new in them you’ve never seen before,” Griffith said.
Currently on exhibit, textiles from around the globe are presented with a history behind each piece.
“We took artwork from our collection that had an interesting story or a real back-story behind it,” said Aaron Padilla, museum assistant curator.
Padilla said the exhibit details textiles in different subject passages such as life passages, identity, utility and religion and belief.
Another form of art the academy offers is the Doris Duke theatre.
The theatre hosts an international venue of independent and foreign films representing artistic, cultural, historical and political ideologies for a viewer’s entertainment.
“We try to find works of art that the public has never seen or works of art that have never seen the light of day,” Padilla said.
In the lower level of the museum, families are afforded the opportunity to learn more about textiles, weaving and making felt, giving them a hands-on look without standing behind a glass wall.
Padilla said because of school budgeting, there are many children who don’t get to experience art at school, but they can explore at the academy.
The academy also offers festivities the public can become involved with, such as an after-hour event held every last Friday of the month called Art After Dark, The Academy Shop where visitors are able to purchase memorabilia, The Pavilion Café for dining needs and The Robert Allerton Art Research Library where visitors are allowed to conduct research through a large collection of books and references.
The academy is located at 900 S. Beretania St. and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
General Admission is $10, $5 for senior citizens, students 13-years-old and older, service members and family. Children 12 years and younger receive free admission.
For more information, contact the Honolulu Academy of Arts at 532-8700 or visit www.honoluluacademy.org.