Dear MMA Members and Friends,
As the new Interim Executive Director of Monterey Museum of Art, I am lucky to be staying on the beautiful La Mirada campus when I am in town. My proximity gives me a chance (despite COVID) to see the Museum’s collections and facilities, as well as to meet staff and board members, not simply by Zoom but safely outdoors in the gardens.
As a newcomer to Monterey I am bowled over by its extraordinary natural beauty. It’s no surprise that this place inspired Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Francis McComas to create iconic images that define what California means to many of us. Equally remarkable is that 60 years ago, community members recognized that Monterey deserved a museum of its own. Since then, MMA has elevated Monterey and its artists to a world stage—while also devoting itself to identifying, showing and collecting succeeding generations of iconic California artists.
Despite the temporary closure of our galleries, MMA staff have worked tirelessly over the last six months to keep our door open virtually by transitioning the Museum’s engaging arts education programs, exciting special exhibitions, and its collection of California paintings (from before 1945) to an enhanced digital platform. Soon, MMA’s entire collection will be available via the Museum’s website so that anyone can access the over 5,400 California artworks in the collection, free of charge.
While touring MMA’s vast archives recently, I heard the devastating news that Felicia Rice, founder of Moving Parts Press and a co-organizer of our upcoming exhibition Califas: The Ancestral Journal, had lost her studio and all of her current work in the Lightning Fire—along with 700 exhibition catalogues that were meant to accompany the exhibition.
Fortuitously, the centerpiece of MMA’s upcoming exhibition, a one-of-a-kind folding mural, was saved because the artwork was moved to a safe location in anticipation of our show. This terrible loss reinforces the vital purpose museums play in preserving our shared cultural resources. Like the pristine beauty of the Monterey coast, the creative resources of this region need protection, especially in times of crisis. I hope if you have not yet given to the Museum that you will. By doing so, you will protect what makes Monterey unique and valuable to the world.
Interim Executive Director