America’s Finest City Local Art Museums Merge with Creative Ambitions

America’s Finest City, in a bid to create a local arts institution at what is though of the leading edge of experimentation, inclusivity, and cultural conversation of two long-established local museums, announced their merger Sunday, March 14th.

America’s Finest City Creative Merger

San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park and Lux Art Institute in Encinitas to become the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

The new ICA San Diego, launching in September, will present a diverse and boundary-pushing mix of exhibits, installations, and public programs in a combined 15,000 square feet of indoor gallery space. This will take place at both venues and with 6 acres of outdoor space at the Lux location. It will become known as the ICA North campus.

America’s Finest City Board of Directors

With a budget of $1.6 million, the new installation will be in charge of by a board of directors and will be led by executive director Andrew Utt. Utt has run Lux Art Institute since June 2019.

ICA San Diego Develops a Vanguard Arts Institution

The executive director Utt is bilingual and previously lived and curated exhibits in South America. He said the newly united board’s goal for ICA San Diego is to create a vanguard arts institution. This would be accessible to all and represent the San Diego-Baja region’s multicultural population.

Relevance is Key

“To be relevant is one of the core values of the new organization. This would mean you are continuously aware of what’s happening in the world around us. Whether is would be migration or social justice or related to the environment,” he said.

Incorporating Artwork to Put Relevance Into Practice

“The idea is to take higher themes and then putting them into practice: The question is how can we delve into them in terms of the artwork we are representing. Or the public programming we’re developing? Moreover, those are the areas in which we feel we are very much united in.”


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