The Art building where we gather and work stands in the ‘ili ‘āina of Pilipili, in Mānoa valley in the Kona district of O‘ahu, which is part of the larger territory recognized by Indigenous Hawaiians as their ancestral grandmother, Papahānaumoku. We recognize that Queen Lili‘uokalani yielded the Hawaiian Kingdom and these territories under duress and protest to the United States, and we seek to support the varied strategies that the Indigenous peoples of Hawai‘i are using to protect their land and their communities.

As educators, we affirm that visual art, texts, films and stories help us to understand the experiences of others whose lives are different from ours. We value critical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, listening, self-reflection, and the imagination. Building on these capacities, we hope to inspire empathy, social and environmental justice, and an ethical framework for our actions. We advocate for a diverse campus, community, and nation inclusive of racial minorities, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and people of all ages, socioeconomic classes, and religious faiths.

We are also committed to the general principles of academic and artistic freedom and seek to guarantee faculty and students the broadest possible latitude to create, speak, write, publish, teach, and learn, in the classroom or elsewhere on campus.

We acknowledge that we have not always lived up to these ideals. We hereby commit ourselves to improving our department culture and curriculum and developing ways to better resist the cultures of systemic bias and colonial history in which we are embedded. While some change may be slow in the absence of university support for priorities like new faculty hiring, other change can begin now. The pursuit of social justice is a goal of shared national significance in the present moment, and we want to be part of the work in collaboration with our students, our colleagues, our alumni, and our community.

Our broad goals:

1. Increase diversity of faculty, visiting artists and scholars, to better support the diverse body of students we serve

What we are doing: We continue to push the university for faculty and staff hires, and will work with the university Search Advocate program to ensure the most diverse possible pool of applicants when hiring becomes available again. In the meantime, we have engaged in fundraising to support visiting artists and scholars, including many artists of color and many who are concerned with issues of diversity, equity, and social justice. CURRENT LECTURES AND EVENTS

2. Develop our skills and sensitivities in working against conscious and unconscious bias in our own work and in our treatment of each other

What we are doing: The faculty have pledged to pursue further anti-bias trainings beyond the ones already required of us, with the help of offices around the university like the LGBTQ+ Center. We have also convened a study group for faculty to learn more about anti-bias pedagogy and techniques for the classroom, and are seeking workshops on the politics of critique.

3. Reconsider our curriculum and its structure in the light of questions of diversity, equity, and social justice

What we are doing: In the short term, a faculty committee has been convened to survey the resources of the university for courses, programs, and other resources to which we can direct students when their interests call for expertise that we may lack. This committee is also looking at curricular decolonization efforts elsewhere in the university for lessons to be learned in our own efforts. More thoroughgoing curricular change may need to wait for new hires, who will, we hope, bring in new expertise to help us solve these problems.

How can I help?

We would welcome the support of students, alumni and community members to help advocate with the university for changes that are beyond our immediate control. These include hiring, funding, and labor conditions at the full-time, adjunct, staff, and GA levels; removing barriers to interdisciplinary teaching and practice; and improving student access to mental health support and conflict resolution. Where some of these issues are concerned (particularly anything that requires the commitment of funds), we can best advocate for these changes collaboratively, from both within and without the university.

How can I learn?



Centrally located on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus since 1976, the Department of Art and Art History is housed in its own purpose-built three-story building with art studios equipped for a range of media productions along with two galleries. The John Young Museum of Art at Krauss Hall is also under the auspice of the department.  EXPLORE

We are one of the largest departments at UH Mānoa and the only master's degree granting program in the visual arts in the State of Hawai‘i. Aside from serving our majors who are from Hawai‘i, the continental U.S., and around world, each semester hundreds of students from other disciplines enroll in our art studio and art history classes to fulfill their university requirements, for the pleasure of exploring a creative medium, and/or learning the richness of global artistic traditions.

The department offers degree programs in the disciplines of studio art and art history. We award a BA in both; BFA and MFA in studio art; and MA in art history. The BFA and MFA include concentrations in ceramics, drawing/painting, electronic art, glass, graphic design, print media (digital imaging, photography, printmaking), and sculpture + expanded practices. The MA in Art History includes the concentrations in the art of China, Japan, the Pacific, South/Southeast Asia, or Modern/Contemporary art. MORE INFO


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