Written exclusively for Lajollabythesea.com by Angie Cobbs
Museums are critical for showcasing and exploring the full breadth of human experiences as well as finding universal themes in unique realities. Today, there is a growing hunger for culture that has revitalized the art sector.
As the ease of travel recovers, museums worldwide are seeing a spike in demand for visitors, and as such are challenged with finding the best professionals equipped to handle this positive growth. In fact, museum curators, who are charged with collecting, appraising, and protecting artworks and artifacts, are now hard-pressed to elevate the art experience for visitors to come away with meaningful encounters. This is particularly important in La Jolla, which is a critical player in San Diego’s art scene. Lauren Lockhart, the executive director at the La Jolla Historical Society, has described the town as a “hub of arts and culture.” As such, the most important goal is to engage with many different experts and community members.
Here are some of the most beautiful museums in La Jolla doing just that.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla
In La Jolla, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) reopens along with the rest of the world. The museum has been a landmark in San Diego’s art scene since 1941 but was closed for 5 years for renovation. Now, it features a massive space that mirrors its spirit of openness and inclusivity, with a clear view of the Pacific Ocean.
Upon its reopening, its first major exhibition pays tribute to a significant local artist with ‘Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s’. Saint Phalle moved to San Diego in the mid-90s, and her works have since been placed throughout the city, with fantastical public artworks — notably UC San Diego’s unofficial mascot, ‘Sun God’. The museum also features works from classics such as Rothko and Warhol, modern masters like Ai Weiwei and Yoshitomo Nara, as well as local legends like Miriam Schapiro, Robert Irwin, and John Baldessari.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
One of those places that you can’t miss when stopping by La Jolla is the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. Although the Athenaeum is a membership library, you can enjoy its offerings without being a member yourself. Located within a historic building with a glowing vintage interior, this is the perfect way to immerse yourself when learning about art and music. It also functions as an educational and convention center, offering classes, lectures, concerts, and exhibition halls to further your knowledge and appreciation of the arts.
Now run by La Jolla native Christie Mitchell as the new executive director, the Athenaeum is set to become even more deeply celebratory of both art and community.
La Jolla Historical Society
At its heart, art is critical to preserve some part of the human experience that occurred sometime in the past. The La Jolla Historical Society is founded on a mission to do just that, exploring the town’s diverse history to form relevant connections to contemporary life. A largely grounding entity within La Jolla, they are constantly in the pursuit of upholding history, art, ideas, and culture.
Their lovely Wisteria Cottage galleries display rotating exhibitions that tap into La Jolla’s culture. They also offer education programs for adult and youth learning. The building also serves as an archive for photographs, postcards, architectural drawings, and oral history recordings, for those who want to delve in more deeply.
La Jolla and its vibrant art scene make it the perfect artistic getaway for the curious and passionate mind. With a calming and welcoming atmosphere, the town is perfect for art walks and cultural adventures!