Gabriel Rico’s work will be featured in the exhibit that opens the new Institute of Contemporary Art. Photo credit: Diego González Argüelles, courtesy of Gabriel Rico Estudio and Perrotin Gallery

Two San Diego County arts mainstays plan to merge to form the new Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

The boards of the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park and Lux Art Institute in Encinitas agreed to the union, aided by a grant from the Sahm Family Foundation.

The move, officials aid, allows the new institute “to create a dynamic new platform for regional, national, and international art and artists.”

The institute will continue to maintain both local galleries, with ICA Central operating in Balboa Park, and ICA North in Encinitas, on six acres overlooking the San Elijo Lagoon.

The launch of ICA San Diego is set for September, with the first solo show in California of Mexican conceptualist Gabriel Rico.

“We will present art and learning with a mission to question, quite literally, everything. We want artists to contribute to public life in San Diego County, and the ICA is their platform,” said Andrew Utt, of Lux, who will serve as executive director of the merged institute.

While the transition takes place through the summer, SDAI and Lux plan to continue their 2021 seasons, hosting residencies and presenting exhibitions, programs, and classes. During this time, their individual websites and social channels also will remain available.

The San Diego Art Institute, founded in 1941, focuses on experimental contemporary art, while Lux born in 1998, offers a contemporary arts space in North County.

The new board of directors combines the boards of both institutions, including Karen Gilbert, chair; Sean Leffers, vice chair; Sari Rudy, secretary; and Carolin Botzenhardt, treasurer.

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