The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has a long history in San Diego. Founded in 1941, it has been a cornerstone cultural organization in the region for 70 years, and in that time has served hundreds of thousands of visitors with quality art programs. MCASD is one museum in two distinct, but complementary locations: the original oceanfront location in La Jolla, once the home of legendary philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps; and MCASD Downtown, set in the urban heart of the city.
The Museum is governed by a devoted Board of Trustees and has an exceptionally talented and well-respected staff, including the David C. Copley Director and CEO, Dr. Hugh M. Davies, who has directed the Museum since 1983. The principal activities of the Museum focus on contemporary art, defined as art created since 1950. The Museum’s 4,200-work collection includes a large proportion of American art, with significant holdings of California works from the 1960s to the present. MCASD commands an excellent reputation for vanguard exhibition programming, often featuring young, emerging artists. The overwhelming majority of artists in the collection are still living, making it possible for us to reach out to them for education programs and other means of direct engagement.
The mission of MCASD is to serve diverse audiences through the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of art created since 1950. With a bi-national constituency in the San Diego/Tijuana region as well as a national and international audience, MCASD functions as a forum for the exploration and understanding of contemporary art and ideas; an art museum preserving, presenting, and interpreting art; and a laboratory for artists to experiment with new forms of visual expression. The population served encompasses a large area of Southern California, with particular focus on San Diego and the border regions with Mexico.
Organizations like MCASD play a critical role in the cultural development of the greater San Diego community, especially among children and teens. It is a critical goal of our education programs to culturally enrich the lives of young people and, since the expansion of our downtown facilities in 2007, we now have nearly double the amount of public programming and exhibition space. MCASD is known for innovative, cutting-edge education and outreach programs that bring art alive for young people, inspiring them to develop their own creativity and helping them improve their academic performance beyond the arts.