The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has two locations; one in the historic heart of downtown San Diego, and the other on trendy Prospect Street in La Jolla. The original museum was founded in 1941 in La Jolla, and is housed in the former home of American philanthropist, Ellen Browning Scripps. The museum offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Garden.
The La Jolla Location
What started as a community art center, The Art Center In La Jolla, evolved into the two-location collection of contemporary art that it is today. The name was changed to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in 1990 to reflect the museum’s growth and prominence in San Diego County. Their contemporary art spans the decades from the 1950s to the present, and in 2012, the museum added 30 new pieces to their collections from the 1950s to the 1980s, including pieces by California’s Craig Kauffman and Ron Davis.
The La Jolla location also has a bookstore featuring books about contemporary art, architecture, photography, and San Diego culture. Besides books, the X Store sells unique gifts, apparel, home decor, and children’s items. This location also boasts the Museum Cafe, which prides itself on serving food made with organic ingredients grown by local farmers.
The San Diego Location
In 1993 the San Diego location found its permanent home, which now encompasses three buildings. The third and final building for the downtown location is connected to the historic Santa Fe Depot, which was built in 1915 and is directly across the street from American Plaza, home of the museum’s other two buildings. The impressive collection includes over 4,000 diverse local and international works dating from 1950 to the present. The types of works on display include minimalist, pop, conceptual, installation, Californian, and Latin American. They come from many different mediums such as paintings, sculptures, photography, and film. All collections rotate between the San Diego and La Jolla locations.
Both museum locations offer tours by volunteer docents, film nights, lectures, and child-friendly activities. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego also offers both locations for wedding venues. Couples can choose urban chic or seaside casual; the museum will cater to each person’s unique tastes. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego also accommodates a wide variety of private events. To inquire about reserving space, there is contact information on their website.
The Museum’s Commitment to Education
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego advocates approaching art from a number of perspectives with the objective of encouraging alternate ways of approaching the world. Working together with educators, it introduces middle and high school students to the diverse world of contemporary art. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego encourages educators to use it to expand the borders of the classroom, and offers online lesson plans related to various artistic subjects.
Things To Do Near Each Museum Location
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – La Jolla location is on vibrant Prospect Street, the heart of La Jolla’s shopping area. Visitors can shop the many boutique stores, lunch in a sidewalk cafe, tour local art galleries, and make a day of it. A short walk down the hill to La Jolla Cove offers an up close and personal view of the seals at the Children’s Pool, as well as a shady place to sit and enjoy people-watching in the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean.
The downtown San Diego location is near the historic Gaslamp Quarter, which has an astounding array of stores, restaurants, theaters, bars, and hotels to suit nearly everyone’s tastes and preferences. Visitors could browse the museum collections, go out for a delicious meal, take in a show, and find that perfect new outfit all in one convenient neighborhood.
700 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037-4291
Phone: (858) 454-3541
1100 & 1001 Kettner Boulevard
(between Broadway and B Street)
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (858) 454-3541