Visual Arts

Hawaii’s visual arts scene encompasses fine art media including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, and installation.  As one of six major creative industries, local artists, artisans, curators, and makers help spur economic development by contributing their ideas, products, and talents.  Combined with applied design, film, interactive media, literary arts & publishing, and performing arts & music, Hawaii’s creative industries represent $3.3 billion of the State’s GDP* as of 2015.  Moreover, the creative sector’s collective impact includes 49,597 local jobs, which is a positive growth rate of nearly 8.9% since 2005. 

*Data taken from Hawaii’s Creative Economy Report – 2016


The visual arts sector showcases the cultural diversity and unique heritage of the islands through world-class quality artwork.  Numerous organizations, galleries, and museum statewide support the range of visual arts activity, some of which are highlighted below.  For further information and a comprehensive list of arts organizations statewide, please go to the Creative Industries Division’s Resources page.

Hawaii Arts Alliance – An umbrella nonprofit that advocates for all the arts statewide by speaking with decision makers such as elected officials and bureaucrats about ways to promote, protect, and preserve the arts. 

Sculptor Frank Sheriff at the University of Hawaii foundry, poring bronze into one of his moldsHawaii Craftsmen – A nonprofit organization which represents artists in the fields of ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and mixed media. 

Honolulu Printmakers – A nonprofit organization that promotes the appreciation and understanding of printmaking and print production.

The ARTS at Marks Garage (Oahu) – A community arts center for performances, lectures, screenings, and workshops.  It sponsors the creative revitalization of the downtown-Chinatown area through neighborhood relations, street festivalsFirst Friday Honolulu, and other community celebrations.

Volcano Art Center (Big Island) – A nonprofit organization representing artists of Hawai`i.  It operates a fine art gallery and offers educational programs to the public.


The Creative Industries Division (CID) is the State’s lead agency focused on strengthening, advocating, and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s creative clusters.  As the business advocate for Hawaii’s culture and arts sector, CID supports initiatives, policy, and infrastructure to expand the capacity of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs.

Since its inception in 2003, CID has identified Strategic Priorities 2013-2015 to increase growth and competitiveness of Hawaii’s creative economy.  Recent and upcoming visual arts projects funded and supported by CID include:

Artist-Based Community Development Project – In 2013 the Volcano Arts Center organized and implemented a two day professional development workshop for visual artists to address business development, marketing and promotion, communication and personal development, and barriers to entrepreneurial success. Three additional workshops will be presented in 2014.

Start!  Business Training for Creative PeopleYoung Women’s Christian Association of Oahu (YWCA) will organize and implement two workshops tailored for creative entrepreneurs covering the essential business set-up and planning to in-depth sales and marketing concepts.  The skills and resources developed through the workshops will allow participants to plan, brand, and present their ideas to potential investors and customers.

Hawaii Pavilion at the American Made Show – The CID sponsored Hawaii Pavilion featured ten visual artists at the 2014 American Made Show (AMS) in Philadelphia.  Categories ranged from woodwork and jewelry to wearable fiber and mixed media.  AMS brings together the US’s top museum stores, retailers, and catalogue houses.

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