Maui Arts & Entertainment

Hawaiʻi Contemporary Names Katherine Don as Executive Director

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Katherine Don

Katherine Don was named Executive DIrector for the non-profit Hawaiʻi Contemporary.

Hawaiʻi Contemporary (formerly the Honolulu Biennial Foundation)  announced this week that longtime board member Katherine Don, who has been serving as Acting Executive Director, has been named Executive Director.

Hawai‘i Contemporary is a non-profit organization that creates inspirational and sustainable exchanges, connecting Hawai‘i and the Pacific with contemporary art.

“We are thrilled that Katherine Don, who has a plethora of experience and has been a tireless advocate for the arts in Hawaiʻi, has accepted our offer to serve as our permanent executive director, after expertly stewarding us through a period of transition and strategic development earlier this year,” said Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, Hawai‘i Contemporary board chair. “Katherine brings a distinctive perspective as a kamaʻāina with global expertise in the field of contemporary art and nonprofit management, and she has the full and very enthusiastic support of our entire board.”

Don, who was born and raised on Maui, graduated from Barnard at Columbia University and majored in both studio art/art history and East Asian Studies. She lived in Asia for nearly 15 years and is an expert of contemporary Asian Art, specifically Ink Art, a new contemporary art category that she established for Sotheby’s auction house in Hong Kong.

Don became a curator and head of Arts and Culture Development at Asia Society in Hong Kong, where she oversaw contemporary art exhibitions.

Most recently, Don curated a diverse program including bringing the first James Turrell installation to a museum in Hong Kong. It debuted at Asia Society. She also launched an environmental awareness arts and education initiative and curated a series titled “20th Century Chinese Women Artists.”

Under Don’s leadership, Hawaiʻi Contemporary has moved to a triennial format, presenting Hawaiʻi Triennial in 2022. She also has initiated a robust public programming series for local and global arts audiences.


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