The San Diego Museum of Art is partnering with the city of San Diego to display seven modern sculptures in the Plaza de Panama and transform the concrete expanse.
The museum unveiled the free exhibit on Thursday and said it hopes the display will create a “new public space for art” in the plaza, which was closed to cars in 2013 but remains an expanse of concrete.
“What was once a parking lot is now an art gallery,” said City Council member Todd Gloria at the unveiling. He added that he hoped seeing the art outside would entice visitors into the museum.
Roxana Velásquez, the museum’s executive director, said the artworks are “some of the most significant pieces from the museum’s sculpture collection” and noted that some have not been on display for years. She envisions the plaza becoming “a new public space for art within Balboa Park.”
“’Art of the Open Air’ is a collaborative project designed to make art more accessible to our community and visitors while turning the spacious Plaza de Panama into a source of creative inspiration,” said Anita Feldman, deputy director for curatorial affairs and education at the museum.
The museum launched a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign for the exhibit in October. The #FreeTheArt campaign has raised more than half of its goal of $250,000 for conservation, installation, security and lighting over a two-year period.
The monumental sculptures have often been in storage due to limited space in the museum’s nearby May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
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