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Honolulu Academy of Arts opens

Anna Rice Cooke, widow of Charles M. Cooke Sr. and a devoted patron of the arts throughout her life, saw a need for a permanent venue for Hawai'i artists and used her influence and financial resources to found the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Cooke, with help from her daughter Alice Spalding, daughter-in-law Dagmar Cooke, and Mrs. Isaac Cox, began by researching and cataloging her private collection of approximately 4,500 artworks. In 1922, she obtained a charter for the museum and hired New York architect Bertram Goodhue to design a new building on the site of the Cooke estate at Ward Avenue and Beretania Street. The museum building was made up of central and side courtyards surrounded by galleries, taking advantage of the natural light and air. The museum officially opened April 8, 1927, with a reception that included a traditional Hawaiian blessing and music performed by the Royal Hawaiian Band. The first exhibit featured island artists including Shirley Russell, Alexander MacLeod, William Twigg-Smith, Madge Tennent, Juanita Vitousek, D. Howard Hitchcock and Lionel Walden. Today the museum owns over 34,000 works with especially strong collections in Asian and Pacific art.

 Sites for further information

The Offical Site of the Honolulu Academy of Arts

Historical Documents about the Honolulu Academy of Arts (American Memory, Library of Congress)

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