Forging business/art partnerships

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has established a Corporate Council to promote the museum and involve local businesses in its operations and exhibitions.

The museum, which has branches in La Jolla at 700 Prospect St. and in downtown San Diego at 1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd., formed the program to create a synergy between art and business.

“We’ve had the Corporate Council for a good number of years,” noted Cynthia Tuomi, deputy director of institutional advancement for the MCASD, “and now we’re making it more of its own networking group, so there’s more opportunity for companies to engage with the exhibitions we have on view, and allow our donors and members to network with each other.”

Corporate Council memberships can be purchased by companies for $1,500. In return, those companies, for one year, are entitled to:

  • Free admission for company employees.
  • The ability to host a meeting or luncheon at either of the museum’s two locations.
  • Invitations for two to attend all museum exhibition openings, preview parties, lectures, special events and exclusive Corporate Council networking events.
  • Access to private docent and curatorial tours at all the museum locations.
  • Corporate visibility via the listing of the company’s name on the museum’s Donor Board, on the Museum’s Web site and in its quarterly newsletter named View.

“What we hope is that the companies who join will be using the guest passes they receive for either their employees or clients, allowing them to enjoy the museum’s curator-led tours,” said Tuomi, “which really helps get more people aware of the programs the museum does and gives them an inside perspective to the exhibitions on view.”
The emphasis at MCASD is on recent history.

“We’re a contemporary art museum,” noted Claire Caraska, MCASD’s communications coordinator. “Our mission is to present the art of our time, defining ‘contemporary’ as art from the 1950s to the present.”

In addition to working with established artists, MCASD has become a showplace for emerging artists in their specialities. “For some it may be their first museum show,” noted Caraska. “We do work with a lot of living artists, so we are able to bring in artists for lectures and hands-on art-making activities.”

Caraska said MCASD was originally created at its La Jolla site, formerly the residence of Ellen Browning Scripps, in 1941. The museum expanded into its second site in downtown San Diego in 1989 at 1001 Kettner Blvd., with further expansion across the street into the new Joan & Irwin Jacobs and David C. Copley buildings. She added the two museum sites are meant to complement one another.

“The La Jolla gallery is on a much smaller scale, more residential in size,” noted Caraska, “versus the gallery in the Jacobs Building which was the former baggage building of Santa Fe Train Depot, with high ceilings and a warehouse space where it’s more suitable for large-scale installations that the La Jolla gallery can’t accommodate.”

MCASD, added Tuomi, would like to involve more La Jolla businesses. “We would like to add businesses in the Village of La Jolla and in the surrounding areas,” she said, “where it would be easy for those companies - furniture stores, art galleries, etc. - to bring in their employees for a talk during lunchtime or a tour.”

Those interested in pursuing an MCASD Corporate Council partnership can contact Nisha Peel at (858) 454-3541, ext. 167 or e-mail