1980 Incorporated November 28, 1980

Founder and President: Alfred Preis, an Architect, Artist, Philanthropist, Innovator of the legislation requiring 1 % all public construction funds must be spent on Art in Public Places. Preis was also the founding Executive Director of Hawai‘i’s State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and designer of the Arizona Memorial.

1981 First Statewide Conference held at Pacific Beach Hotel
1985 Rainbow Festival of the Arts by and for young people

1988 First paid Executive Director +office @ Honolulu Academy of Arts
1992 Lifestories: Visions of a Multicultural World - Annual Conference
1993 My Culture and My Art: I Think, I Create, I Learn
1995 From Pencils to Passwords: Arts and Technology Conference
1995 ‘Ohana Arts - Family/Community Programs are initiated 

1996 Preis Honor becomes public event @ Bishop Museum. 1997 @ Hawai‘i Theatre
1997 National Endowment for the Arts grant for Hula Ki‘i
1999 Presentation to The Presidents Advisory Committee on the Arts
2000 ARTS license plates launched. Design by Clarence Lee.
2001-2012 The ARTS at Marks Garage downtown Honolulu collaborative arts center.
2001 ARTS FIRST Strategic Plan mandated by ACT 306

2002 ARTS FIRST invited to be 1 of 30 founding affiliates on APPLE Learning Interchange
2002 King Kamehameha – A Legacy Renewed PBS Documentary
2003 ARTS FIRST Essential Arts ToolKit: Fine Arts Grade Level Guide, K–5 Teachers
2006 Mission formally expands to advocacy, community and education
2005-09 The Ford Foundation – Shifting Sands community project
2004-06 ARTS FIRST Research Project: U.S. DOE - Windward Schools
2006-10 ARTS FIRST Research Project: US DOE Arts and Literacy for All

2009 ongoing ARTS FIRST Artists-in-the-Schools
2011 ongoing ARTS FIRST Art Bento

2013 NEA OUR TOWN for POW! WOW! Hawai'i

2015 STEAM - ARTS FIRST Institutes