San Diego Museum of Artwork and Museum of Photographic Arts announce merger

The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts will merge on July 1, the Balboa Park institutions announced now.

Beneath an arrangement accredited by both museums’ management and boards of administrators, MOPA’s collection of a lot more than 9,000 photos by 850 artists and 22,000 publications and similar elements will be extra to SDMA’s own pictures selection.

MOPA’s two-story, 33,000-sq.-foot museum area — located in the historic Casa de Balboa setting up just across the Plaza de Panama from SDMA — will keep on being open up through at least 2024 to accommodate MOPA’s formerly declared exhibition routine. MOPA’s 18-member staff members will also be retained for at least the subsequent 12 months. SDMA aims to be in the recent MOPA area for a long time to occur, using the present space and auditorium to showcase good art throughout mediums.

Deborah Klochko, MOPA’s executive director and chief curator, will briefly be a part of the SDMA staff members as a curatorial adviser to aid easy the transition, but she designs to retire at the finish of 2023 soon after 17 a long time at the museum.

Klochko explained she’s grateful and thrilled to see MOPA’s legacy carry on.

“Together, we’ll be so substantially superior and so significantly a lot more, and that is very fascinating,” Klochko explained in an interview on Friday. “We have the prospect to increase our get to and contain men and women in pictures and aid them greater have an understanding of visible imagery.”

Deborah Klochko at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Deborah Klochko, executive director and chief curator at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, will retire at the conclude of the calendar year.

(Courtesy of MOPA)

MOPA heritage

MOPA was established in 1974 as a museum devoid of partitions. In 1983, it moved into the Casa de Balboa at 1649 El Prado in Balboa Park. In 2000, the museum reopened immediately after a yearlong renovation and modernization that expanded its gallery space and extra a classroom, theater, library and far more.

In an effort to take away boundaries to entry for folks of all socioeconomic degrees, MOPA launched a “pay what you wish” admission plan in March 2015. Though visitorship has improved about the decades to 100,000 readers each year, revenues have declined. In accordance to its federal 990 — the type nonprofits file each year in location of a tax return — MOPA’s net revenue fell from $1.92 million in 2015 to a net loss of $711,000 in 2016. From 2017 to 2022, yearly net losses ranged from $440,000 to $1.8 million.

Immediately after the museum emerged from the pandemic, Klochko explained she realized a lasting option was essential.

“COVID improved anything,” she claimed. “It just turned apparent that it was time to rethink what the museum product was likely to be and what is a museum for the subsequent 40 many years heading to look like? Both equally of those people were being hand in hand.”

Klochko claimed that as very long as she’s worked in Balboa Park, there have been ongoing discussions involving the leaders at the park’s museums on how to merge or share operation companies to reduce charges. But nothing ever came of it ahead of simply because of the extensive variance in between the diverse museums’ missions, measurements and audiences.

San Diego Museum of Art Executive Director and CEO Roxana Velásquez.

San Diego Museum of Artwork Executive Director and CEO Roxana Velásquez.

(Courtesy of the San Diego Museum of Artwork)

A conference of the minds

The good news is, Klochko claimed there was an evident way to keep MOPA’s legacy and collections intact. It was just a quick stroll away and helped by the long-established friendship she had fashioned with Roxana Velásquez, SDMA’s government director and CEO for the earlier 12 yrs.

“We seriously began conversations on this in Oct of last yr, but it will come out of a for a longer time romance of mutual respect, owning so many similarities in conditions of schooling and the point there is a wonderful increasing photograph collection at the San Diego Museum of Art,” Klochko said.

Velásquez stated on Friday that photography has normally been an integral portion of SDMA’s collection and exhibitions.

More than the past eight many years, hundreds of photos have been additional to SDMA’s 22,000-piece art selection and the museum has curated and hosted extra than 20 photographic exhibitions around the earlier decade. Images and online video have also been integrated into most of the museum’s non-photographic exhibitions for contextual comparisons and for delivering historic education and learning to show visitors.

“We’re celebrating what I see and what Deborah sees as development and progression,” Velásquez claimed. “We each think in this type of efficiency and streamling, and we share the exact same viewpoint of missions.

“We’ve been collaborating because I arrived right here, lending items to every other and traveling to each other’s exhibitions. It is an quick merge in that perception,” Velásquez claimed. “Photography is art and this is an art museum that involves and consists of and displays diverse images. It’s a normal match, I would say, but excellent for the San Diego spot and for the area, and we are hoping it will grow to be a product a single.”

San Diego Museum of Art exterior.

The west wing of the San Diego Museum of Artwork, the solitary-tale grey building to the left of the primary two-story museum in Balboa Park, will be revamped by Foster + Associates.

(Courtesy of Javier Velez)

The long term

On July 1, SDMA will inaugurate a new section termed the Museum of Photographic Arts at the San Diego Museum of Art, targeted solely on photographic arts.

Velásquez explained the upcoming yr will be targeted on integrating the collections and carrying out MOPA’s bold program of exhibitions. Correct now, MOPA has three exhibits under way: a selection of online video portraits by Robert Wilson Victorian-period photos by British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and vibrant significant-scale images by San Diego artist Suda Household.

Velásquez claimed the MOPA museum space will provide as an extension of SDMA via 2024. No determination has been built on irrespective of whether to hold the MOPA house after that. The MOPA location’s long term as a element of SDMA will likely be established by the artwork museum’s formidable development ideas.

In March, SDMA declared it experienced hired the earth-renowned architecture firm Foster + Partners to design and style a new west wing to substitute the wing it extra in the 1960s. The new framework will involve an schooling middle, places to eat, basement and rooftop house — moreover, possibly space to copy what is available at the MOPA area. The new wing will break ground in 2026, which is SDMA’s 100th anniversary.

MOPA is just one of just a few remaining independent images museums in the United States, excluding these on faculty campuses. With the merger this summer months, that number will tumble to two. But Klochko and Velásquez say they do not see the merger as an “end” for MOPA.

“I consider this a triumph simply because kindred spirits aligned and had been capable to make this come about,” Velásquez explained. “It’s not about my territory or your territory. It is about concentrating on the stop outcome, which is communicating and sending a powerful information.”