When First Hawaiian Center opened in October 1996, becoming the tallest building in Honolulu, it featured two levels of gallery spaces designed especially for The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, today part of the Honolulu Museum of Art. A month later it held its first exhibition. Since then, 140 exhibitions dedicated to contemporary Hawai‘i artists have been presented.
Through the years, First Hawaiian Bank has developed its own art collection—with many of the works acquired from these exhibitions. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the exhibition program at First Hawaiian Center, the Honolulu Museum of Art, in conjunction with the bank, presents for the first time selections from the corporate collection. On view will be works by many of Hawai‘i’s best-known artists, including Derek Bencomo, John Buck, Ken Bushnell, Yvonne Cheng, Sally French, Linda Kane, John Koga, Wayne Levin, Mary Mitsuda, Hiroki Morinoue, Louis Pohl, Fred Roster, Tadashi Sato, Toshiko Takaezu, Doug Young, and John Young.
The First Hawaiian Center exhibition program, a partnership between First Hawaiian Bank and Honolulu Museum of Art, is designed to make art accessible to those working/living in or visiting the downtown area. Rotating exhibitions feature artists who live and work in the islands, artists born and/or raised here who moved away for training and to develop their careers, and artists from elsewhere who visited Hawai‘i and created artwork inspired by their experiences.
First Hawaiian Bank Chairman and CEO Bob Harrison is committed to ensuring that art remains an integral part of the vibrant downtown Honolulu landscape. Under his leadership, the bank continues to fund this bold experiment in support of Hawai‘i artists, and its enduring partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art benefits the people of Hawai‘i and visitors alike.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website