SFCA Welcomes New Executive Director

June 15, 2022
Allison Wong and SFCA logo

Allison Wong Selected to Lead Hawaiʻi State Government Arts Agency

Allison Wong has joined the team at the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) as Executive Director, effective August 1, 2022. A leader in Hawaiʻi’s arts community for over a decade, Ms. Wong has a passion for championing the power of culture and art to promote connection, enrich the human experience, and transform lives and communities.  

“Passing the torch to Allison Wong is exciting for myself, the agency and the community. We are fortunate to have a capable individual in Allison and a strong foundation with Art in Public Places Program/Hawaiʻi State Art Museum Director Karen Ewald and SFCA staff. I look forward to watching an exciting new chapter of the agency unfold.”

Jonathan Johnson, outgoing SFCA Executive Director

Her exceptional leadership and achievements as Executive Director at The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu and as Deputy Director of Administration and Operations at the Honolulu Museum of Art are among the many reasons why the SFCA Board of Commissioners selected Ms. Wong from a pool of highly qualified candidates.

“Wong possesses an ideal combination of first-hand knowledge of Hawaiʻi’s arts funding ecosystem, experience in nonprofit leadership and community engagement, and a deep commitment to the artistic community through the arts,” says Board Chair Lloyd Unebasami. “We look forward to continued success of the SFCA programs.” 

Most recently, Ms. Wong has served Hawaiʻi’s arts and culture community as an SFCA board commissioner (a governor appointed volunteer position) and as Director of Partnerships for Hawaiʻi Contemporary (formerly the Honolulu Biennial Foundation).

“I am honored and tremendously proud to serve as the next executive director for SFCA. I am eager to begin work with the staff, commissioners, community partners, artists, and the legislature to advocate and build on SFCA’s history to serve all communities through Hawaiʻi’s amazing creative economy. I look forward to advancing the mission of and vision of SFCA to have an even greater impact for our community.”

Allison Wong

Outgoing Executive Director Jonathan Johnson retires June 30, after eight years as executive director and thirty-four years at SFCA. Karen Ewald, SFCA Art in Public Places Program Director/Hawaiʻi State Art Museum Director, will serve as Interim Executive Director July 1 – 31, 2022. 

“I am so pleased for the State Foundation of the Arts, as well as the larger cultural community, that Allison Wong has agreed to take on the role of Executive Director of the agency.  I would like to also thank Jonathan Johnson for his tireless work these past many years, I know that he agrees that the SFCA is in great hands and that the future looks incredibly bright for Arts and Culture in Hawaiʻi as Allison Wong comes to the helm.”

Karen Tiller Polivka, board member and Chair of administrative committee 

“I would like to thank Mr. Jonathan Johnson for his years of service with SFCA and his most successful leadership as the Executive Director these past final eight years ending June 30, 2022. As we will transition to Ms. Allison Wong effective August 1, we will have an interim Executive Director, Ms. Karen Ewald. The continued success of SFCA’s program has been well executed by the SFCA Commission Members for the transition of Leadership.”

Lloyd Unebasami, Board Chair

About the SFCA

The Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) was founded in 1965 as the official arts agency of the State of Hawaiʻi. State arts agencies increase public access to the arts and work to ensure that every community in the United States enjoys the cultural, civic, economic, and educational benefits of a thriving arts sector.  

The mission on the SFCA is to promote, perpetuate and preserve culture and arts in Hawaiʻi. The strategic priorities of the agency focus on supporting the artistic expressions of Hawaiʻi’s diverse cultures and communities, enhancing public engagement in culture and the arts, strengthening arts education for all learners, and enriching the public sphere through the arts. 

SFCA funding is provided by the State of Hawaiʻi and the National Endowment for the Arts. SFCA is administratively attached to the Department of Accounting and General Services (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 9). 

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