As executive director, Heath Fox hopes to help La Jolla Historical Society gain new relevance

Heath Fox is the executive director of the La Jolla Historical Society. He previously served as the deputy director for operations at The Broad Art Foundation; assistant dean of arts and humanities at UC San Diego; director of administration at the San Diego Museum of Art; and associate director for administration at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

His first career was as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He holds an M.A. in museum studies from the University of Leicester and a B.S. in business finance from Virginia Tech.

Fox is a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute’s museum management program and the Harvard Business School executive education program. He served as chair of the Carlsbad Arts Commission, as president of the board of trustees of the Balboa Art Conservation Center and as president of the board of Balboa Park Central.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I’ve lived in Carlsbad for over two decades, and over the years was often in La Jolla for business or social reasons. I came to very much admire this community. When I returned from Los Angeles after completing a consulting position, my ambition was to be executive director of a cultural institution, and the opportunity to join the La Jolla Historical Society came at just the right time. This is such a beautiful place, with such a rich history, and with citizens sincerely committed to the local community. It’s a great match for me, and I feel extremely fortunate to be here in La Jolla.

How would you improve the area?

Over the next couple of years, what I hope we can add to the community is a historically preserved, adaptive reuse renovation of Wisteria Cottage and the La Jolla Historical Society campus. With our collection and research archives, and exhibition and education programs, my aspiration is that we sustain the Society as a relevant and active community resource, a place that is important and inspiring to current and future generations of La Jollans and to those who visit this community.

Who or what inspires you?

Philosopher’s Walk, Kyoto, during the Spring cherry blossom season.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would bring together my wife, Terry; my son, Henry; Banksy; Haruki Murakami; Tim Gunn; Zadie Smith and Ai Weiwei. Should be a good time.

What are your favorite movies of all time?

These would be “The Red Violin,” “The Fall,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Hugo,” and “Midnight in Paris.”

What is it that you most dislike?

A bad attitude.

What is your most marked characteristic?

A good attitude.

What do you do for fun?

I read, and am especially intrigued by the subject of postmodernism, however illusive the concepts of that term may be. My interests are in architecture, art history and criticism, photography and contemporary literature. Terry and I spend getaway weekends at our second home in Palm Springs, a place that, like La Jolla, has a lively cultural life. For more rigorous forms of entertainment and self-improvement, it’s the treadmill four times a week, and the bicycle in Palm Springs.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

A successful life hangs in the balance between knowing what to hold on to and what to let go.

What would be your dream vacation?

I am fascinated by urban centers that have re-invented themselves in recent decades. My dream vacation would be a round-the-world trip to some

of those cities: Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and Glasgow.