Ways to Give: Civic projects to grow the community and benefit La Jolla

Changes are coming to La Jolla in the next few years, and there are several civic projects that need funding. If you are looking for ways to help the community grow and prosper this giving season, here are some substantial projects to consider:

MCASD La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla campus broke ground on its expansion project Oct. 18, at which time $80 million of the needed $95 million was in place. The expansion will transform the former Sherwood Auditorium into a gallery, replace a 24-space surface lot with 41 underground spaces and a public art park, and demolish the neighboring house at 636 Prospect St. to quadruple the museum’s exhibit space from 10,000 square feet to 40,000.

The expanded Museum is expected to open in 2021 at 700 Prospect St. Architect Annabelle Selldorf’s design calls for new construction to the south that will allow for two levels of light-filled galleries with coastal views; a large, flexible multipurpose gallery on the lower level that will provide capacity for public programs, artist talks, performance art, music, and other immersive educational activities.

Learn more at

Historical Society Pocket Park

On a related note, as crews readied the demolition of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla campus, a 13-column Robert Venturi-designed pergola that once sat in front of the entrance was moved to the La Jolla Historical Society to create a “pocket park” on the 780 Prospect St. campus. Although the park opened to the public in September, funding is still needed to consider the project complete.

“The goal is an additional $30,000 to augment donations already made by other contributors, including the County and City of San Diego,” said La Jolla Historical Society executive director Heath Fox.

The garden includes gravel and concrete walkways that snake through the lower terrace, with vegetation on both sides, and a gathering/seating area at the north end. The centerpiece is the over-sized columns and pergola.

Learn more at (858) 459-5335.

Friends of La Jolla Shores

The La Jolla Shores-based foundation has two major projects in need of funding: The Map installation and the shower drainage system at the North Comfort Station restroom facility.

About $40,000 short, The Map uses a process known as LithoMosaic invented by artist Robin Brailsford, in which small tiles are pieced together to create mosaics of the marine life found at sea off the coast of La Jolla Shores and birds. The educational display has various shades of blue that represent the different ocean depths. In total, almost 450,000 tiles make up the entire installation. The plan is to have The Map installed at Kellogg Park in spring 2019.

Secondarily, the restroom facility at Kellogg Park is in need of improved drainage. There are currently showers at the facility, but insufficient drainage, causing the water to drain into the surrounding grass and sidewalk.

“We need a new drain to catch the water, and with it, the roof needs to be extended by about three feet to keep rain water out of the drain,” explained Friends of La Jolla Shores president Mary Coakley Munk. “It’s a safety issue and we want to make it right.”

Claiming the project “shouldn’t be more than $50,000,” those interested in contributing to its success can call Coakley Munk at (619) 840-0250.

She added: “These are important projects and it would be nice if there was some interest in the coming year.”

La Jolla Community Center

The Community Center is launching a capital campaign, “Raise the Roof,” to fund a new topper for the building at 6811 La Jolla Blvd., which offers indoor and outdoor programming including lectures, concerts, exercise classes, art classes and much more.

The current roof, said executive director Nancy Walter, is over 50 years old and soon to fail.

The replacement cost is estimated at $250,000 and the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla started the campaign with a $10,000 donation.

Heading up the campaign committee is board member and architect, Don Hodges, who told the Light: “The plan is to raise new funds to accomplish the exterior improvements, consisting of a new roof and solar panels.”

To make an end-of-year tax-deductible contribution and/or join the “Raise the Roof” committee, contact Walters at (858) 459-0831.

Mount Soledad Memorial Association

Around this time last year, the Mount Soledad Memorial Association started its self-proclaimed “new chapter” in its programming. To boost these new offerings, Mount Soledad Memorial Association executive director Tim Chelling said: “Our needs for the coming years will continue to be centered around the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Veterans Recognition Mission, the major annual events, operational costs and site maintenance.” Those who wish to help can donate can call (858) 459-2314 or email

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s mini-concerts, the 1008 Wall St. entertainment center is looking for underwriters to support its 15 annual concerts in The Village. The concerts, which cost about $600 each to produce, are funded largely by the Athenaeum, with some money provided by the City of San Diego.

“These concerts are like a gift to the community, where people can bring their lunch and listen to music, and really get an understanding of chamber music, jazz, or whatever the artist may play,” said Athenaeum executive director Erika Torri.

Each year, the concerts start in September, take a break in December, and continue January through May for a total of 15 in La Jolla (through a partnership with the Lyceum Theater, there are also 15 in downtown San Diego)

Those who wish to underwrite one or more concerts can contact Torri at: (858) 454-5872.

The Conrad

The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, slated to open at 7600 Fay Ave. in 2019, will be the new permanent home to La Jolla Music Society and house a 500-seat concert hall, a 2000-square-foot flexible performance space, a meeting/reception room, a large central courtyard, and new offices for LJMS.

To fill in the $76 million pricetag, the LJMS has options for sponsoring a seat or donating directly to the project. Seat sponsorship, which includes naming rights, starts at $1,000 for second-level terrace seats (Row S through Row V) up to $5,000 for an Orchestra Level seat (Row A through Row J).

Direct donations to The Conrad can be made with recognition, anonymously, or in the name of someone else in any amount.

To learn more, contact Director of Development Ferdinand Gasang at (858) 4590-3724, ext. 204 or