Hawaii was one of the first states in the nation to legislate that a portion of the taxes paid on commercial building projects be set aside for the purchase of artwork. The state purchased an ornate period-style building (that once was the Armed Services YMCA Building) and in 2002 opened a 12,000-square-foot museum on the second floor dedicated to the art of Hawaii in all its ethnic diversity. HiSAM, as it's nicknamed, has a Diamond Head Gallery featuring new acquisitions
and thematic shows from the State Art Collection and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. The Ewa Gallery houses more than 150 works documenting Hawaii's visual-arts history since becoming a state in 1959. Also included are a sculpture gallery, a gift shop, a café, and educational meeting rooms. Check for occasional evening events like on First Fridays in Chinatown.