The Contemporary Museum now offers free military-affiliated admittance at its summit location overlooking Honolulu.
The free admittance, funded by BAE Systems and Boutiki, applies to all Department of Defense employees and family members. The museum initiated its military-friendly policy to help raise morale and expand service members’ list of activities in Hawaii.
The museum rests on several acres of hilltop property with clear views of Diamond Head and downtown Honolulu. In addition to its equally artistic gardens, the estate offers an exhibit alternating between local and international artwork every couple months.
The elaborate building the museum resides in was originally constructed as an affluent residence in a secluded environment adding to the artistic environment and sustaining its appeal to visitors.
While the museum naturally avoids “traditional” pieces, the combined offering of a historic Kama-aina site, elaborate architecture, and acres of maintained gardens ensures nearly anyone can find something to enjoy there.
“It’s a great place for families,” said Charlie Aldinger, Director of Museum of Advancement, TCM. “If the exhibit doesn’t seem [compelling,] there’s plenty else for them to enjoy.”
Complementing the exhibit is an outdoor café where patrons can enjoy a beverage or snack on the patio surrounded by murals and paintings left by resident artists.
The museum also features an array of trails interweaving the area, scattered with subtle artwork and potential picnic sites.
Despite a lack of contemporary museums in Hawaii, TCM remains a rare entity, even throughout the contiguous states, by fusing two seemingly conflicting aesthetics of new-age and nature.
“I think the two ‘opposites’ attract,” she said. “It’s a three-way offering of architecture, interesting art, and gorgeous landscaping.”
Contemporary art usually invokes the thought of an industrial or neutral-themed location – not immersed in a natural backdrop away from the city, Aldinger said.
“Normally a contemporary museum is surrounded by concrete – typically in a downtown or warehouse setting,” she added. “It’s rare to find a [contemporary] museum in a historic, Kama-aina, residential estate.”
“We take it out of the sterile environment to a historically rich and scenic environment,” Aldinger said.
The museum also offers on-site catering for business meetings or family picnics, and children’s art-classes, Aldinger explained.
“There’s no time limit,” she added. “People often come – check out the exhibit and then spend the day lounging throughout the grounds. It’s a great place to propose at.”
People interested in visiting within the upcoming months can expect to see the newly renovated exhibit featuring Japanese artist Yoshihiro Suda. Suda is known for his fragile and subtle installations of hand-carved and painted, minimalist plant life.
Although the $8 fee regular visitors normally pay in admission may not be a huge giveaway, Aldinger said with the current economy and unassuming museum location – there’s no reason to miss out.
“Even if you don’t know too much about contemporary art, or art altogether, there are tours available and what we have here – no one else has on the island,” said Milton Wilson, a TCM volunteer and former Head of Chemistry for General Aero Company.
The Contemporary Museum is located at 2411 Makiki Heights Dr.,
Honolulu, HI and can be reached at 526-1322 for additional info.