..........................Photo: John Baer/Oahu Island News
Hawaii State Art Museum Opens Its Doors to the Public
The new Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM), located at No. 1 Capitol District Building, opened its doors to the public on Sunday, November 3, 2002. Its 12,000 square feet gallery, is divided into six themes: Rediscovering Our Hawaiian Heritage, Discovering our Asian Roots, Artists & Social
Consciousness, Our Traditions
& Our Values, Inspired by Land & Sea, and Local Reflection,
inaugural exhibit, Enriched by Diversity: The Art of Hawaii,
has 360 pieces of artwork created by 284 local artists.
exhibit is predominately comprised of works that reflect the rich
culture and high aspirations of the Hawaiian people. Those familiar
with Hawaii’s history and landscape will recognize many of the
people and places depicted in the artwork.
“The museum will provide opportunities for reflection,
growth, and insight – unique to each person. It will be a mirror
of our times and a ‘mosaic of our people’ past, present, and
future, which in part defines Hawaii’s place in the world,” said
Mona Abadir, chairperson of the State Foundation on Culture and the
For the lead exhibition designer, Tom Klobe, Director of the University of Hawaii Art Gallery, this project is especially rewarding. He has dedicated many hundreds of hours of hard work and numerous weeks and months of thought and planning in preparation for opening day.
with six colleagues in the arts community, Klobe selected the final
pieces of artwork to be displayed in the museum, “I selected works
that would work well next to each other, and that would carry the
idea of that particular section.”
1967, Hawaii became the first state in the nation with a law to set
aside one percent of the construction cost of new state buildings
for the acquisition and commissioning of works of art to beautify
the environment. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA)
currently has a collection that comprises 5,000 pieces by 1,400
artists. These pieces of artwork are on display in over 466 state
offices, schools, college campuses, libraries, airports and
hospitals. With the opening of HiSAM, a large portion of the
SFCA’s “Art in Public Places” collection is now housed under
exhibition at HiSAM is expected to remain constant, although changes
may be made in the future to reflect different themes and to feature
other pieces of artwork from the SFCA collection.
The Hawaii State Art Museum is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday; it will be closed on Sunday and Monday and on all State and Federal holidays. Admission to the museum is free.