The San Diego Museum of Art Recognizes Its Accomplishments

| November 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Roxana Velásquez – the first woman to be appointed as executive director at The San Diego Museum of Art during its 90-plus years – is celebrating 10 years at the institution this fall. With an eye on the established strength of the collection, Velásquez has forged further and deeper international connections, shepherded major acquisitions and loans, developed new methods to make art more accessible, and much more. 

Following are some major highlights from the past 10 years.

  • Global interaction and cross-cultural connections: Loans of American art went as far as China, and works from the Binney Collection of Indian paintings to the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid as well as to India, Canada, and Mexico. Velásquez herself was invited to India and China to further represent and establish reciprocal relationships with many cultural institutions throughout the globe. 
  • Public art and the local community: Initiatives like “Open Spaces” created public works of art in four communities in Southeast San Diego, granting residents the ability to control the content, medium, and location of these works of art in their own neighborhoods. In 2016, the Museum introducedArt of the Open Aira free public art exhibition with some of the best sculptures from the collection displayed in the plaza in front of the Museum. In addition, the Museum forged partnerships with institutions such as UC San Diego to develop research and educational initiatives, as well as with arts organizations including the San Diego Ballet, Shakespeare Society, the Opera, and Black Xpression to create a cultural hub and to illustrate those interconnections that help further enjoyment and understanding of art. 
  • Technology and accessibility: Art After Hours created extended hours and discounted admissionon Friday nights, allowing more convenience and availability for those with limited scheduling flexibility. The community outreach program On the Steps brought displays, activities and performances out into the plaza for further engagement with the art on view in the galleries. The Museum also opened up free admission for children under 18. Beginning in 2015, the Museum worked with Guru, a tech company, to develop an app and consistently investigates innovative methods to offer exciting virtual art experiences to our audiences. 
  • Some major acquisitions: The Museum has received gifts and purchased art of great quality from throughout the globe, including the acquisitions of works by Cranach and Raphael Mengs, further enhancing the world-renowned collection of Spanish works. The permanent collection also expanded to encompass works of incomparable quality by Francisco Zurbarán, Juan de Valdés Leal, Jusepe de Ribera, Sorolla, and a painting by John Singer Sargent – the most important and revered portraitists throughout history that the Museum has acquired over the past 90 years. 
  • Infrastructure improvements: The Museum completed an over $4 million series of upgrades to the physical infrastructure of 75 percent of the galleries, technology systems, and to the nearly two decades-old HVAC system, and more.  
Roxana Velásquez has spent the past 10 years expanding the role and successes of the San Diego Museum of Art.

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