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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego / La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has two branches, one in downtown San Diego on Kettner Boulevard and one here in La Jolla on Prospect Street. The downtown branch occupies the former Santa Fe Depot baggage building. The La Jolla art gallery sits overlooking the ocean where philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps built a house designed by architect Irving Gill in 1916. She lived there until her death in 1932. Since then, her original house has been renovated twice, first in the 1950s when it became an art museum and then again in the mid-90s when it received a new facade.

Between this facade and the floor-to-ceiling ocean views in back, MCASD La Jolla now houses and exhibits one of the finest collections of modern art anywhere. The museum's collection includes more than 4,000 works created after 1950 from a variety of media: painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video, and installation. MCASD is known for collecting works by promising emerging artists, mid-career artists, and by major figures in international contemporary art, including the cross-border collaboration of the San Diego/Tijuana region.

MCASD La Jolla also includes the Edwards Sculpture Garden, a gift shop and the Museum Cafe. The gift store includes an excellent selection of books for adults and children on contemporary art, photography and culture in San Diego as well as many other items, such as prints, clothing, jewelry, stationery, children's games and toys and decorative house wares. You can also order museum gift items online and have them shipped throughout the United States. A percentage of the gift store proceeds benefits MCASD.

The Museum Cafe is located on a patio in front of the museum and is a first-rate restaurant in its own right, popular with visitors and locals alike. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily. Inspired by the cuisine of European bistros, the Museum Cafe offers dishes made from the freshest organic ingredients grown by local farmers.

For those interested in classes, educational tours and special exhibits, MCASD La Jolla hosts a wide variety of special events. Pick up a brochure the next time you are visiting the museum, or check out its website for its calendar of events, from field tours to lectures and films. You can also reserve the museum for your own special events, such as fundraisers, private parties and weddings.

The museum is open every day except Wednesday. The gift store, the sculpture garden and the cafe are open daily. Seniors and students pay only half price for admission. On the third Thursday of each month, MCASD is free for everyone from 5 to 7 p.m.

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