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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Receives $750,000 Arts Innovation Fund Grant From James Irvine Foundation
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - La Jolla location. Photo: Pablo Mason.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) announced today that it received a grant of $750,000 from The James Irvine Foundation through its highly competitive Arts Innovation Fund grant program. The grants were announced yesterday by The James Irvine Foundation following a meeting of its Board of Directors.

The grant will support the implementation of MCASD's labFORUM -- an innovative, transformative, and institutionally radical shift from the notion of MCASD as one museum with multiple locations (all doing essentially the same thing) to an institution with two distinct locations (the Lab in downtown San Diego and the Forum in La Jolla) each with different identities that provide new pathways to fulfilling MCASD's mission.

Key components of the initiative are artist involvement and increased technology and multimedia activity applied throughout the Museum. The labFORUM will be an innovation incubator, challenging and shifting long-held assumptions about how a contemporary art museum operates, and changing the ways in which MCASD engages with audiences and members.

With this project, MCASD will redefine its downtown location as the Lab -- a studio or working place for the most "contemporary" of contemporary art, including multimedia. At the Lab, the Museum will commission artists, both emerging and established, to make new work never before seen locally, regionally, or nationally. The Jacobs Building, opened in January 2007 as a major element of MCASD's downtown expansion, includes the Robert Caplan Artist-in-Residence Studio as a dedicated space within the museum for artists to work and experiment. Robert Irwin is the first artist to occupy the studio, where he has developed new work and new techniques in his practice. The Robert Caplan Artist-in-Residence Studio will continue to be an important place for artistic innovation at MCASD. The Museum will also be forming some technology partnerships aimed at developing an advanced working Media Lab to house the most cutting-edge technology for experimentation in visual arts and music.

Meanwhile, the La Jolla venue will be structured as the Forum, featuring the collection in rotating thematic exhibitions, as well as temporary shows originated here or traveling from other museums. Advanced research on contemporary art will be conducted by curators and scholars, and exhibitions will be enhanced by new commissions punctuating the collection presentations. The Forum will operate as a cultural center that deals with all manner of subjects in the Museum's 500-seat Sherwood Auditorium, Edwards Sculpture Garden, classroom, galleries, and in the other program spaces found at this site, allowing MCASD in La Jolla to serve as an animated gathering place for discussion and dialogue.

Director Dr. Hugh M. Davies expressed the gratitude of the Board of Trustees and staff: "This major grant will allow MCASD to continue to innovate and be at the forefront of developments in contemporary art and audience engagement, and we are very grateful to The James Irvine Foundation for its support."

The other three organizations receiving 2009 Irvine Arts Innovation Fund grants are the Hammer Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, the Oakland Museum, and the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | The James Irvine Foundation | Robert Caplan Artist-in-Residence Studio | Sherwood Auditorium | Edwards Sculpture Garden |

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