HONOLULU BIENNIAL FOUNDATION RECENTLY CLOSED ITS SECOND ARTISTIC INSTALLMENT IN MAY, BRINGING TOGETHER THE BEST OF THE BEST FROM HAWAI‘I AND THROUGHOUT THE PACIFIC.
“We stay true to that geographic focus,” says executive director and co-founder Katherine Ann Leilani Tuider. “The Pacific Ocean is something that unites us, not divides us.”
The goal, she adds, is to make quality art available to all, and the notion is something near and dear to Tuider’s heart.
“My exposure to the arts from a young age helped me think of the world in a different way,” she says. “The world is full of possibilities with no limits. The only limitations are the ones I put on myself.”
In Honolulu Biennial’s first year, back in 2017, nearly 98,000 people checked out the array of artists and exhibits—and 79 percent of those in attendance were kama‘aina. “Within Honolulu Biennial, we have these programs that make art accessible,” she explains. “We want to reduce the barriers and impression that art is only for an elite audience. We believe that art is for everyone.”
Tuider’s background in business and international and economical development might seem a far cry from her current role with Honolulu Biennial Foundation. For three years, Tuider worked in the public health arena with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Repub- lic. There, she focused her efforts on innovative tourism, organizing numerous health conferences, starting her own business—socially conscious travel company Anti-Tour—and garnered experience and knowledge to write Dominican Republic (Other Places Travel Guide), which was published in 2012.
Following her stay in the Caribbean, Tuider moved to Washington, D.C., to work as an international recruiter for CARANA Corp. Then, in her late 20s, Tuider made a drastic career change that led her to move back home to the islands.
It was also around that time, when she was finishing her MBA in Paris, that she connected with likeminded individuals who would become her Honolulu Biennial
Foundation co-founders. They were brought together by a shared understand- ing that there’s incredible artistic talent in Hawai‘i, but not necessarily an international platform to showcase that talent.
The first installment did just that, and the second iteration focused on identity. Going forward, Tuider and the rest of the team are looking to expand the overall theme to that of sustainability as Honolulu Biennial continues its upward trajectory in promoting local art and culture.