“East Meets West” is the prevailing theme at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii’s only general art museum and a favorite attraction for art lovers for more than 75 years. Established in 1927 with approximately 4,500 works of art, the Academy today boasts a collection of more than 34,000 pieces, almost equally divided between Western and Asian art.
Located in Honolulu, the Academy itself is an amalgamation of the various cultures that help form Hawaii’s “melting pot” environment. Japanese gardens are surrounded by European-inspired cloisters and covered by a sloping Chinese tiled roof.
It’s the galleries, however, that truly define the museum. Its Western art collection encompasses more than 15,000 works from Europe and the United States, from classical antiquity to contemporary. Included are nearly 4,000 paintings, sculptures, contemporary crafts and decorative arts. The Academy also maintains a sizable collection of local artworks that document Hawaii’s history through the eyes of its gifted artisans.
The Academy’s Asian art collection, meanwhile, consists of more than 16,000 works from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and India. Included here is a large inventory of Japanese wood block prints—8,000 in all—donated by famed author James Michener. The $20 million collection has been described as “one of the finest in the world.”
The Academy was founded by Anna Rice Cooke, a prominent socialite who envisioned a world-class art facility to benefit the people of Hawaii. A non-profit institution, the museum maintains a full schedule of special exhibits, art classes, gallery tours, school programs, and film and performance series.
Food & Shopping
Visitors can browse inside the Academy Shop, a 1,500-square-foot gift boutique filled with books, stationery, prints and posters that reflect the international scope of the museum’s collections. The Academy also houses the Pavilion Caf?©, a popular lunch venue offering an extensive selection of entrees, sandwiches, salads and desserts.
The Honolulu Academy of Arts is located at 900 South Beretania Street in Honolulu, two blocks mauka (inland) of the Neal Blaisdell Center. Hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (808) 532-8701.