We were very surprised when we read our eagerly awaited "San Diego Arts" section of the Feb. 22 edition of the Los Angeles Times. We simply could not account for the fact that despite the title of the section, "The Arts in San Diego, The Search for Excellence," which sounded all-inclusive to us, there was not even a mention of the Museum of Photographic Arts.
This despite the fact that the Museum of Photographic Arts is a real success story. Let us mention but a few of the facts that we find really remarkable about the Museum of Photographic Arts:
- The museum opened its doors to the public less than four years ago--and without an endowment. Yet, it has not only sustained itself, but grown in membership, budget, programming, staff and recognition (while you point out that the San Diego Art Center, started at the same time, has "folded with more than $650,000 in debts").
- The Museum of Photographic Arts has a major exhibition (Arnold Newman: Five Decades) traveling to prominent and prestigious museums all across the country for the next three years (including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Art Institute, the International Center for Photography in New York, etc.).
- The museum has received National Endowment for the Arts and California Arts Council grants regularly ever since it became eligible for them.
- Museum attendance has been increasing each year. Last year the museum had 75,000 enjoying its programming.
- The San Diego Union art critic, Robert Pincus, said "the Museum of Photographic Arts, though, found for its exhibitions the right mix of popular appeal and scholarship."
- In the less than four years since the museum opened, there have been 29 exhibits and 48 lectures by world-renowned artists, educators and critics.
- The national media also have recognized the Museum of Photographic Arts, as Arnold Newman appeared on the "Today" show Jan. 2 and the March 9 issue of Time magazine will feature our current exhibition.
If it's excellence in the arts that you were looking for, why not include a real success story? Or better yet, do a feature story on a young institution that has achieved a reputation beyond anyone's expectations.
and four officers of the board
Museum of Photographic Arts