Artist Nick Rodrigues' Car-a-oke, a karaoke booth inside a old Mercedes sedan. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Artist Nick Rodrigues’ “Car-a-oke,” a karaoke booth inside a old Mercedes-Benz sedan. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The New Children’s Museum downtown is celebrating California’s penchant for innovation and inspiration with the new “Eureka” exhibit opening to the public on Saturday.

“I think Eureka really captures the essence of California,” said Celeste Hilling, chair of the museum’s board, at an opening ceremony Friday on Island Avenue in front of the museum.

The exhibit, two years in the making, features eight art installations designed to provoke questions, ideas and critical thinking among the children visiting the museum.

Artist Roman De Salvo with “Desert Derby.”

“The real gold in California lies in the ideas and innovations made by the people who live here,” said Tomoko Kuta, the museum’s director of education and exhibitions.

The museum is unique in focusing on arts education, which the staff and supporters consider essential to San Diego children’s later success in the high-tech modern world.

Russ Sperling, director of visual and performing arts for San Diego Unified, spoke at the opening about the importance of arts education, calling it “essential for our students’ success in the future” as computers increasingly take over routine work.

“Students are going to have careers and lives in which they are creative and innovative,” he said.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on most days, 9:30 a.m to 4 p.m. on Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays and is closed on Tuesdays.

The crowd at the opening ceremony on Island Avenue in front of the museum.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.