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HiSAM Reboot!

Omnia Design Studio/HiSAM
Omnia Design Studio/HiSAM

The Hawai‘i State Art Museum, HiSAM, is one of the state’s best kept secrets, but that’s about to change.  The Friends of HiSAM have redone the shop with MORI by Art and Flea, the popular café sports rotating shows now, Family Second Saturdays are gaining momentum and HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports there’s even valet service to enjoy First Fridays. 

hisam shop
Credit hisam shop
(l-r) Lisa Shiroma, HiSAM Museum shop proprietor, is working with Travis Sasaki and Aly ishikuni of MORI by Art and Flea to design the shop and stock it with the popular creatives who work with Art and Flea.

Tonight at First Friday the Museum is open, and a new collaboration will feature two of Hawai‘i’s best known sculptors, Satoru Abe and John Koga.  The museum café, Artizen by MW, will be open, and there’s valet parking on Richards Street.  

August 4th, sample Teruya's Andagi, grab a drink at a wine bar and enjoy jazz guitarist Shoji Ledward on the 2nd floor terrace.  Jewelry designer and owner of Alinea, Andromeda Hicks will be showing a collection of pieces curated for the HiSAM gallery shop. 

The Plein Air Painters will be painting live on the front lawn, and singer/harpist Jasmine Yoshikawa will be performing at the gallery shop. If you like, bring a blanket and sit under the stars.  Valet parking will be available on Richards St., or try Ali‘i Place public parking off Alakea Street.  There is also a Biki bike station directly in front of the museum on Hotel Street.

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
Lawrence Seward, Dreaming and Swimming. Wood, stain.

Tuesday through Saturday
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and all state and federal holidays.

HiSAM Gallery Shop x MORI by Art + Flea
Shop Hours:
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday
Email: hisammuseumgalleryshop@gmail.com
Instagram: @hisam_gs_mori
Facebook: @hisammuseumgs

Artizen by MW
Café Hours:
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Venerable painter/sculptor Satoru Abe has been living his dream of being an artist for 70 years. 

Abe:  Hawai‘i, you know. we’re talking about “hana yori dango.”  That era.  You know what that means right? (Dumplings over flowers.)  Today, man cannot live by bread alone.  It’s changed.  

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
(foreground) Two prints by Harry Tsuchidana, one of Hawaii's first modernists, are being offered with a $350 membership to the HiSAM Museum. (background) Ceramics by Daven Hee, Kenny Chen, Ashley Huang,and others are a popular addition.

Some things have changed.  When he started, Abe figured he had to leave Hawai‘i, so he did.  But Abe returned, just as the state’s 1% law was swinging into effect, designating that percent of state construction to art acquisition.  And Abe began building a collector base.  How did you do that?

Abe:  It’s kind of strange, you gotta go individual, it’s too much!

Hundreds own Abe sculptures, prints, and paintings,  but Abe has over twenty collectors who have a at least 30-130 pieces.  Each relationship developed differently.  These days, with works in banks and airports and schools across the state, he is looking ahead to strengthening all Hawai‘i artists through the state museum.

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
Mark Chai. Wood.

Abe:  Can be done.  And my feeling is, give every serious artist a chance to show.  And it weed out by itself, right?  And I hope the ones don’t sell, they’ll improve themselves or make it sellable.  That’s a funny term, sellable, but we gotta look for new buyers.  The thing is how we going attract new collectors, young collectors.  Once they get started, that’s it.  Art is a disease!  (He laughs)

Joyce Okano collects Satoru Abe--- A former regional vice president for Chanel, exposed to European fine art, she asked a friend, a savvy art world investor for advice on collecting.

Okano:  It’s not that easy.  She said, be smart and collect what you can really study and get to know.

That is what led Okano to Hawai‘i artists.  Abe tapped her to head the Friends of HiSAM and get the HiSAM museum, shop and café pumping.

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
Sanit Khewhock. Second Light #3. Oil on slate.

Okano:  It’s incredible what’s here, it really is phenomenal work.. and look at this museum…  this museum has the best of the best.  And it’s not marketed and it’s a shame because Hawai‘i has so much more to offer than the beaches and blue skies and stuff.  And this museum is free!

On view in the Museum shop through August, new work by Sanit Khewhok, Lawrence Seward and Sally French with Mori by Art and Flea artists.  

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
Sally French. (l) Teeth. (r) Laura. Photography.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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