Hawai‘i State Art Museum Debuts 2 New In-Person Programs This Summer

Discover innovative ways to be inspired with Happenings at HiSAM and HiSAM Creates.


Hisam Sophia Enriquez Credit Courtesy Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



We love the calm, meditative experience of walking through museums looking at art. But when given the opportunity to see art come to life, and to even take part in it, it’s that much more memorable. Visitors will have that chance all summer with two new programs at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum.


Happenings at HiSAM invites visitors to check out the live dance, theater and other artistic expression throughout the museum. Artists take inspiration from specific works that are on display at the museum and create their own through their chosen mediums. Museum visitors can watch the artists interact with different exhibits in real-time, creating an ichigo-ichie (once-in-a-lifetime) experience.


Hisam Maintenance Credit Courtesy Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



One recent Happenings at HiSAM, set in the Sculpture Garden, was a comical live performance titled “Maintenance.” During the performance, actors tried to clean the garden’s sculptures amid constant distractions and problems. Another recent Happenings featured performers from Convergence Dance Theatre, who led visitors through the galleries to view not only their performance, but the artwork they were responding to and interacting with.


Hisam Convergence Dance Theatre Credit Courtesy Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



The next Happenings takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Aug. 21 in the Mirror Room. If you’ve never been inside the mysterious room it’ll take a little detective work to get there. On the first floor, go into the hallway behind the former café space and look down at the path for clues on where to go. Keep walking down the hallway and you will be rewarded for your sleuthing skills: an art installation called “Mucho Botánica” from Sofia Enriquez.


Hisam Sophia Enriquez 1 Credit Courtes Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



Enriquez designed and created a 3D impressionist landscape painting installation using HiSAM’s giant ceramic head sculptures by Jun Kaneko as a jumping off point. Recently relocated from Southern California, Enriquez has been taking in her new tropical surroundings with fresh eyes. For “Mucho Botánica,” she says: “I was also inspired by my first sunset hike in Hawai‘i. The shades of viridiana (green) overwhelmed the eye, and light looked like it was dripping in gold and violet. Everything outside was drenched in technicolor. Since that day, my time here has been spent being hyper aware of light, beauty, danger, survival, community and spirituality.”


The art installation was enhanced with the help of lighting designer Spencer Agoston and music producer Benji Manor to create an uplifting and colorful experience.


SEE ALSO: Live Music Returns to HiSAM on July 1 with a New Monthly Jazz Night


HiSAM Creates offers a variety of unique hands-on workshops led by professional artists. Recent ones showed attendees how to make tropical floral arrangements and metal jewelry. All workshops are free; registration online is required.


Hisam Stamping Workshop Credit Courtesy Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



On Aug. 7, join Cherish Fuller, owner of Jiwa Jiwa Press, in a fun-filled stamping workshop. Learn how to design and carve stamp blocks to use in creating your very own greeting cards. Participants get to take home a set of six cards with accompanying envelopes.


Also in August is an art-driven mental wellness program geared toward students. The Letter Lab workshop series was developed by Zachary Angeles, a featured artist for Mental Health America. “My goal is to remove the stigma related to mental health amongst students by creating avenues for emotional contemplation and reflection in their everyday lives,” he says. “The creative practice will be in the form of drawing and painting. The mental wellness exercises will emerge through memory analysis, private journaling and expression through mediums.” The workshop, a total of four sessions, will take place on Saturdays, with students in second through fifth grade in one workshop (called “Memory Bank”) and those in sixth through ninth grade in another (called “Marked”).


SEE ALSO: Isolation, Financial Troubles and More Than a Year of Anxiety Strained Our Mental Health


Hisam Zach Angeles Credit Courtesy Hawaii State Art Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



Happenings at HiSAM: “Mucho Botánica,” Saturdays through Aug. 21, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

HiSAM Creates: Stamping Workshop, Aug. 7, 2–4 p.m., click here to register

HiSAM Creates: The Letter Lab workshops, Aug. 7–28, four sessions,

grades 2–5 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. (click here) and grades 6–9 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (click here)


To find out more about the latest HiSAM Creates workshops and Happenings At HiSAM, follow HiSAM’s Instagram: @hawaiistateartmuseum


Lisa Shiroma


Lisa Shiroma is a correspondent for HiSAM and is an artist and art educator. Lisa is the former owner of the HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop, which she ran with partners Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki from Mori by Art + Flea from 2017 to June 2020.