Purpose & History

Enhancing public engagement in culture and the arts.


The Art in Public Places Program (APP) was created to strengthen the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts capability to stimulate, guide and promote culture and the arts through the field of the visual arts. The APP Program seeks to:

  • Enhance the environmental quality of state public buildings and spaces throughout the state for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public;
  • Cultivate the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of visual arts in all media, styles and techniques;
  • Contribute toward the development and recognition of a professional artistic community;
  • Acquire, interpret, preserve and display works of art expressive of the character of the Hawaiian Islands, the multicultural heritage of its people, and the various creative interests of its artists.


The Art in Public Places Program was established in 1967 with the enactment of the Art in State Buildings Law, which designated one percent of the construction costs of new buildings for the acquisition of works of art, either by commission or purchase. With this new legislation, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to have a percent for art law that established a separate, reliable source of revenue to administer the APP Program. However, the law stated that funds were subject to being returned to the state’s general operating fund if not used by a deadline date.

In 1989, the State Legislature of Hawai‘i created the Works of Art Special Fund that expanded upon the provisions of the Art in State Buildings Law to include having works of art available for all state public places. Added to the source of revenues was one percent of the renovation costs to state capital improvement projects. As a special fund, the moneys generated by state construction and renovation costs are restricted to the Art in Public Places Program and now no longer are subject to being returned to the state’s general operating fund. This provision allowed for long-term planning and completion of significant art projects that were not previously possible.

The statutory authority for the Works of Art Special Fund is found in chapter 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.