With the opening of the recent Pacific Standard Time – Art in L.A. 1945-1980 arts initiative, it’s quickly become clear that the Southern California arts scene is no longer content to be ignored. Amid the palm trees and sprawling beaches of San Diego lies a noteworthy and emerging arts scene—from established museums to newly renovated galleries to eclectic street art, San Diego has something for everyone with a creative spark.
The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMART), located in the historic Balboa Park, officially opened its doors in 1926 and has since become home to classic Spanish works (from Goya and El Greco) as well as standout Italian works (from Giorgione to Veronese). The architecture of the museum itself is worth the journey, as the building’s façade recalls elaborate Spanish design. Throughout the year, the museum holds a “Culture and Cocktails” event, featuring live music and exotic drinks in an effort to showcase classic art in a new light.
Located within a stone’s throw of SDMART, the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) is one of the three museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to the collection and preservation of photography. Nearing its thirty-year mark, the museum holds works by Alfred Stieglitz and Dorothea Lange in its permanent collection, while featuring emerging local photographic and film works.
If classical oil paintings and photography aren’t your thing, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (MCASD). With two locations—in La Jolla and Downtown—the museum serves as a hub for innovative art and a monthly Thursday Night Thing (TNT) series, which features live music, artist talks, and interactive performances.
Whether you’re a tried and true museum aficionado or an adventurous art-goer, there is surely something for you in San Diego’s alternative art scene. Though it may not be on the same playing field as the Bay Area arts scene, it’s still worth looking out for. (Alexandra Morales)