San Diego Museum of Art
A view of the San Diego Museum of Art with the west wing at left. Photo by Javier Velez

The San Diego Museum of Art and Museum of Photographic Arts will merge to become one unified institution in Balboa Park, it was announced Tuesday.

The museums will officially merge on July 1. At that time, The San Diego Museum of Art will house a new department called the Museum of Photographic Arts at the San Diego Museum of Art, focused solely on photographic arts. MOPA’s existing collection will join SDMA’s collection.

The MOPA collection contains more than 9,000 images by 850 artists and 22,000 books and related materials highlighting photographic processes and art objects relevant to the medium.

“We’ve been collaborating since I arrived here, lending pieces to each other and visiting each other’s exhibitions,” said Roxana Velásquez, executive director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art.

Deborah Klochko, executive director and chief curator at The Museum of Photographic Arts, will take the role of curatorial advisor and implement MOPA’s current exhibition schedule at MOPA’s existing location — which will remain open through 2024 — and assist with the transition period through December.

“It’s a natural fit,” said Velásquez. “We’re celebrating what I see and what Deborah sees as growth and advancement … for the San Diego area and for the region.”

The San Diego Museum of Art has more than 22,000 works of art, having added thousands of photographs to its collection over the last eight years, and has hosted over 20 photographic exhibitions in the last decade.

“MOPA has always been a museum that embraces change, from multiple community partners in our education and film programs to bi-lingual text for all of our exhibitions,” Klochko said. “Together, with our similar missions and combined photography collections, there will be so much more for our audiences.”

City News Service contributed to this article.