Four arts groups in Hilo formed the East Hawaii Cultural Council (EHCC) in 1967 to promote diversity in visual and performing arts.
Initially, EHCC was housed in Hilo’s old library, then in a nondescript building next door. In 1980, it acquired the lease for a lot where the former central police offices, municipal court and jail stood; those buildings had been added to the National Register of Historic Places the year before.
Thanks to enthusiastic and generous community support, EHCC completed repairs and renovations to the buildings in a couple of years and moved archives, galleries, offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, rehearsal space, a shop and a 150-seat performance area into 20,000 square feet of space.
The building complex has been dubbed the Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art (HMOCA), and EHCC is its administrative arm.
HMOCA features a new exhibit every month, which opens on the first Friday and is on view for three weeks. Genres run the gamut, but the common goal is to encourage dialogue about and exploration of multiple sides of contemporary issues.