Creatures and Characters

Image: view of the “Creatures and Characters” exhibit

The “Creatures and Characters” exhibit highlights a variety of narrative artworks from the Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA). Through a diverse mix of media and artistic approaches, the depictions of creatures and characters suggest stories and ideas that unfold in surprising, unusual, and amusing ways.

August 4, 2023 – summer 2024.

Fear of the Unknown

View of the “Fear of the Unknown” exhibit

Hawaiʻi State Art Museum visitors are invited to contemplate 34 artworks by 28 artists in the ʻEwa gallery (second floor). Take a closer look and find details that help reveal narratives of exploration, change, and discovery. July 7 – closing date to be determined.

Accession: recent additions to the Art in Public Places Collection

View of museum gallery entrance, with a light purple wall holding six small sculptures. A framed kapa in shades of brown and green is visible on the left, on a separate wall, and part of a large blue, white, and black drawing is visible on the right side on a back wall.
Entrance to the “Accession” exhibit at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum. Front wall: “Takuan #1 – #6”, ceramic sculptures by Maile Yawata; left, “Ka Papa Honua (strata of earth)”, kapa by Roen Hufford; and on the right is “Feather Woman Wailing” (partial view), pastel and charcoal drawing by Emily McIlroy. 

About the exhibit

For more than fifty years, the Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has been recognized as one of the most significant collections of contemporary art of Hawaiʻi. This exhibit invites you to engage with a selection of recent additions to the collection from across the islands. The artworks acquired from juried and curated exhibitions offer an insight into current trends and themes in the local arts scene and provides an opportunity to see the diversity of works being created in Hawaiʻi today.

“Accession” will be on view through 2023, closing date to be determined.

Baskets from Gaye Chan’s “Carrying Capacity” project will be in the “Accession” exhibit, opening February 10, 2023.

About Hawai‘i State Art Museum Exhibits

Artworks on display in the Hawai‘i State Art Museum are from the Art in Public Places Collection of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, or student art competitions (the Annual Hawai‘i Regional Scholastic Art Awards and Annual Young Artists of Hawai‘i). Most of the Art in Public Places Collection is on display in public buildings, including schools, libraries, and state offices. The collection can be viewed and searched online: Art in Public Places Catalog.

View of the Sculpture Garden from the second floor courtyard.

Sculpture Garden

On the ground floor of the building was once a recreational area that featured a large swimming pool and bleachers. This area has now been transformed to serve again as an urban oasis. It retains elements that evoke memories of the pool, offering pathways for discovery and sites for reflection. The garden is open to the public during building hours (Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Admission is free.

Upcoming Exhibits

  • 2024 Hawaiʻi Regional Scholastic Art Awards (dates to be determined)
  • 2024 Young Artists of Hawaiʻi (dates to be determined)

Past Exhibits

Red background with seated figure in shades of purple, yellow, green, red, and gray. Text reading 'Altered States'.

Altered States

Highlighting unique and alternative visions of the world through twenty-three artworks from the SFCA’s Art in Public Places Collection. August 6 – December 12, 2021. Take a virtual tour: Altered States Exhibit Virtual Tour.

“Altered States” artists

Andrew Binkley, Sachelle Dae, Isami Doi, Francis Dubois, Sally French, Ryan Higa, Renee Iijima, Sarah Martinsen, Lloyd Menard, Hiroki Morinoue, Michelle Schwengel, Madeline Soder, James Surls, Masami Teraoka, Lauren Trangmar, Tom Walker, Donna Westerman, William Williams, and Scott Yoell.

2022 Hawaiʻi Regional Scholastic Student Art Awards

Award-winning artworks by Hawaiʻi students grades 7-12. February 18-March 12, 2022. Take a virtual tour: 2022 Hawaiʻi Regional Scholastic Student Art Awards Virtual Tour.

Two adult people and a child in the Young Artists of Hawaii exhibit.

wall sculpture of shiny clay bricks in orange, brown, light pink, and blue. Text above reads 'Containment'.


Highlighting unique and alternative visions of the Artworks that explore containment through a variety of artistic depictions and approaches, ranging from traditional and nontraditional vessels, abstracted forms, and representations of architectural structures as containers for objects, as well as for individuals and their lives. Artworks from the SFCA’s Art in Public Places Collection. September – December 12, 2021. Take a virtual tour: Containment Exhibit Virtual Tour.

“Containment” artists

Derek Bencomo, Chris Churchill, Jonathan Y. Clark, Double Dog Dare Studio, Christopher Edwards, Richard Frooman, Jane E. Goldman, Linda Gue, Lynda Hess, Kelly S. Hestir, Patricia Hickman, Randy Hokushin, Joshua Holzmann, Imaikalani Kalahele, Russ Katto, James Knudsen, Pat Kramer, Seiji Kunishima, Kirk Kurokawa, Bon Moore, Rowena Otremba, Jennifer Owen, Yukio Ozaki, Margo Ray, Yoshitomo Saito, Mari Sakamoto, Norman Shapiro, Laura Smith, Paul Soldner, Jonathan Swanz, Toshiko Takaezu, Lonny Tomono, Sharon Twigg-Smith, David Vitarelli, Tony Walholm, Shannon Webb, Jean Williams, Wilfred Yamazawa

Painting of Mokoliʻi Island. Frame around painting reads "In Hawaii Hawaii State Art Museum".

“In Hawaiʻi”

Featuring artworks from the SFCA Art in Public Places Collection, this exhibition reflects the rich diversity of creative vision found in Hawaiʻi, exploring themes of influence, innovation, inspiration, insight and inquiry. September 6, 2019 – December 12, 2021. Take a virtual tour: In Hawaiʻi Virtual Tour.

“In Hawaiʻi” artists

Abe, Lalepa Pi’ikoi Ah Sam, Ruthadell Anderson, Mary Babcock, Carol Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett, A. Kimberlin Blackburn, Allyn Bromley, John E. Buck, Mark A. Chai, Jean Charlot, Joey Chiarello, Lucille Cooper, Bryan Czibesz, Isami Doi, Betty Tseng Yuho Ecke, Christopher Edwards, Matthew Egan, Margaret Ezekiel, Dorothy Faison, Scott Fitzel, Juliette May Fraser, Sally French, Ka-Ning Fong, Francis Haar, Susan McGovney Hansen, Todd Herzberg, D. Howard Hitchcock, Pegge Hopper, Diana Nicholette Jeon, Anne Kanahele, Jun Kaneko, John Tanji Koga, Wayne Levin, Huc Mazelet Luquiens, Clarence Maki, Martha Marques, Marques Marzan, Mazatl,  Marie McDonald, Marcia Morse, Terry Holokai Murata, Tetsuo Ochikubo, Carl Franklin Ka‘ailā‘au Pao, Margo Ray, Franco Salmoiraghi, Tadashi Sato, Shawn Spangler and Bryan Czibesz, Donna Stoner, Bruna Stude, Jonathan Swanz, Toshiko Takaezu, Reuben Tam, Madge Tennent, Harry Tsuchidana, Maika‘i Tubbs, Robert Dick Tynes, Phil Uhl, Lionel Walden, John Wisnosky, Suzanne Wolfe, Daniel Wooddell.

Black background with bright green lettering reading Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna

“Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna”

Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna features Hawaiian art from the Art in Public Places Collection of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and is guest curated by Drew Broderick, Kaʻili Chun, and Kapulani Landgraf. July 13, 2020 – December 12, 2021. Take a virtual tour: Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna virtual tour.

“Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna” artists

Bernice Akamine, Pam Barton, Wright Bowman, Sr., Sean K. L. Browne, Mark A. Chai, Kahi Ching, Kauʻi Chun, Kauka de Silva, Solomon Enos, Charlton Kūpaʻa Hee, Henry Hanale Kila Hopfe, Rocky Kaʻiouliokahihikoloʻehu Jensen, Elroy Juan, ʻĪmaikalani Kalāhele, Herb Kawainui Kāne, Clemente Lagundimao, Jr., Al Kahekiliʻuila Lagunero, Marques Hanalei Marzan, Marie McDonald, Meleanna Aluli Meyer, Harinani Orme, Carl F. K. Pao, Pat Kaimoku Pinē, Abigail Romanchak, Maikaʻi Tubbs, Hana Yoshihata.