Oleg Alexandrov / CC BY-SA

August 12, 2020; San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Art Institute, located in Balboa Park, San Diego, has let its seasoned executive director go. Her contract expired on August 3, 2020, and the Institute has announced a 60-day close to find itself—or rather, for the board to find its way forward.

While it is in that holding pattern, it has retained a part-time operations manager to manage the museum—even in its dormancy—and its online hub for artists, the Regional Artists Market.

As is too often the case in these situations, the statement made by Karen Gilbert, chair of the Art Institute’s board of directors, doesn’t lend a great deal of clarity:

Our primary focus is making our space safe and welcoming upon future reopening in accordance with state and county guidelines. During this reset, we also intend to review our programming to ensure it aligns with our mission and commitment to cultural equity going forward.

Last week, another local cultural institution, the San Diego Natural History Museum, also announced It will close until 2021 while it seeks its own way forward.

Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the museum, says the organization is reorganizing in a way thorough enough to fit the moment.

“In the end,” she said, “we will be aiming for this blended model of onsite, online and out in nature. This is a terrible time for us all, but also a tremendous time of learning and experimentation, and our hope is that we come out stronger.”

More than a month ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that nine of Balboa Park’s major museums and the San Diego Zoo would reopen by July 4th. As of now, only the zoo and the Japanese Friendship Garden are open.—Ruth McCambridge