The 75 best Hawaii artworks hiding in plain sight? They’re at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus.


We love the Honolulu Museum of Art. We love the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. But should you find yourself on Oahu, short on cash and in need of an injection of arts and culture, you’ll find great artworks by several dozen noted Hawaii artists on the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Valley campus in Honolulu.

More than 75 artworks in a variety of media make up the U.H. Manoa Campus Art in Public Places Collection. Also on the list? A calming Japanese garden, working loi kalo (irrigated taro terrace) and a Thai pavilion gifted by the king and queen of Thailand in 1964. The entire collection is scattered throughout the 320-acre U.H. Manoa campus.

All you have to do is be prepared to search for the art without a map.

Currently, the university doesn’t offer a printed guide to all of the artworks. But for art fans with some time on their hands, seeking out the entire collection can make for a fun, full day of exploring. (We found a pretty good flickr album of much of the U.H. art collection at this flickr website.)

We liked the U.H. Manoa Art in Public Places Collection so much, we gave it a category all its own in HAWAII Magazine’s recent 2014 “Best of Hawaii” issue: “Best Hawaii Art Hiding in Plain Sight.” (The “Best of Hawaii” issue is still available for purchase on our iPad and Android newsstands if you want to check it out.)

Eight of our favorite pieces and places from the 75-strong U.H. collection are shared below. If you’re headed to the UH Manoa campus, enjoy the art hunt!

Night Hula by Jean Charlot, 1961, ceramic tile, Saunders Hall



Sumotori (Sumo wrestler) by Greg Cluman, 1975, marble, Music Building.



 Gate of Hope by Alexander Liberman, 1972, steel, Holmes Hall



Seien (Serene Garden) by Kenzo Ogata, 1963, Jefferson Hall



Thai Pavillion, 1964, a gift from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, East-West Center dormitories.



Untitled by Murrya and Phyllis Turnbull, 1959, stained glass, Keller Hall




The Great Manoa Crack Seed Caper by student artists, 1981, Physical Science Building



Loi o Kanewai, student project, 1980, Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies


Categories: Culture, Oʻahu, Travel Tips