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New interim director named to head Shangri La museum on Oʻahu

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Shangri La/Facebook
Shangri La features about 4,500 objects and cultural resources.

Meredith Artley moved to Hawaiʻi with her family last year. She planned to take a break from work, but an opportunity came up at a dinner event at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design last fall.

"That was the first time I had been here, and it blew my mind," she said. "And I have not been able to get Shangri La out of my head.”

Artley began her new post this month. She takes over for Konrad Ng, who is leaving to spend time with family and pursue other projects. He has been the executive director since 2015 and is an HPR board member.

Naka Nathaniel
Meredith Artley is Shangri La's new interim executive director.

Shangri La was the home of tobacco heiress Doris Duke. It opened as a museum in 2002 and features about 4,500 objects and cultural resources. The collection includes art from Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Syria and India.

Sam Gill, president and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said Artley will serve in the interim as they begin searching for a new permanent executive director.

“We want to be ready for a new vision and a new leader," he said. "The history of Shangri La is not about replicating the past. It’s about moving into the future. And so Meredith… we are gonna have the opportunity to learn from her, to expand our horizons, to deepen our knowledge.”

Most recently, Artley was editor in chief and senior VP of CNN Digital Worldwide. She’s also led digital teams at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The family of her husband, Naka Nathaniel, is from Hilo. Nathaniel is also an HPR Community Advisory Board member.

She said she hopes to help boost the museum’s digital reach, expand engagement and lead other community-based initiatives.

“Increasing the relevance and the awareness of what Shangri La is and what it can continue to become to kanaka and to kamaʻāina is such a great opportunity here," she said. "And when I think about what I personally want to do here, make this place… more part of the fabric of positive change and thoughtfulness.”

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at
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