Newly Appointed SFCA Executive Director Karen Ewald Prioritizes Program Awareness, Partnerships, Public Engagement

October 27, 2023

The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) Board of Commissioners recently appointed Karen Ewald as Executive Director to serve a five-year term. Ewald served as interim executive director for the past year and has been with SFCA as its Director of the Art in Public Places Program and the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum for over nine years.

“These last several years at SFCA have helped to prepare me for this position which is a true honor for me,” said Ewald. “I am excited to accomplish the goals laid out in SFCA’s strategic plan and build upon the work that our dedicated team has made to not only ensure local contemporary art is more accessible to the public but to also increase public engagement and education through our diverse programs.”

Ewald is specifically committed to following priorities in the upcoming year:

  • Increasing public awareness of the agency’s impact on the community statewide through its numerous programs.
  • Hosting the 2024 Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum, setting the stage for the SFCA to expand future connections to communities in the Pacific Rim.
  • Seeking external grants to supplement traditional government funding.  
  • Collaborating with community organizations across the state to develop a new SFCA strategic plan. 
  • Working with Arts First Partners to implement new core standards in the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education.  
  • Assisting the Friends of the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum in securing a vendor for the museum cafe.

The Hawaiʻi State Art Museum is a free public art museum within the SFCA Art in Public Places Program. In September, Hawaiʻi State Art Museum was reintroduced to the public under a new flagship name – Capitol Modern, which reflects its location in Honolulu’s Capitol Historic District.

Capitol Modern holds a percentage of the contemporary local artwork from the Arts in Public Places Program. It also hosts a number of free events that include musical performances and hands-on art activities.

“We have a lot of diverse programming in this building from education to evening events that welcome people of all walks of life to experience the creativity and joy that is offered here,” said Ewald.

Prior to working at SFCA, Ewald was the Program Manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She was responsible for developing, planning, budgeting, creative events, and educational programs. Ewald holds a bachelor’s degree in Art with an emphasis in Art History. 

About SFCA

The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) is Hawaii’s state government arts agency. Established in 1965 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, through the vision and effort of Hawai‘i leaders  including architect and State Planning Coordinator  Alfred Pries, SFCA Founding Chairperson Masaru  “Pundy” Yokouchi, State Senator Nadao Yoshinaga, and Governor John Burns. The creation of a state  arts agency made Hawai‘i eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, newly established on September 29, 1965. The SFCA is administratively attached to the Hawaiʻi Department of Accounting and General Services.

Media Contact

Donalyn Dela Cruz
(808) 216-4747
[email protected]

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