In the future, entrance into the ground floor of the Mingei International Museum will be free.
The Balboa Park institution has embarked on its radical plans for a transformation. The $26 million project goes well beyond a cosmetic redesign.
The San Diego firm LUCE et Studio Architects is working with Mingei leaders on the effort, and the firm’s principal Jennifer Luce said the goal is to make the museum more welcoming and accessible to a wider audience. The museum shows folk art, craft and design, and Luce said the transformation will better reflect that.
“Mingei is art of the people, and we want this to be a place of the people,” she said.
The revamp, which is expected to break ground next year, will include making the 1,500 square foot ground floor more open and free to the public (accessing the upstairs floor of Mingei will still require membership or paid admission). The museum will also reopen two outdoor terraces that haven’t been used since the 1950s and turn its loading dock into a new community theater space and outdoor courtyard.
“We’ve also discovered all sorts of windows that had been covered up,” Luce said. “It’s just going to feel like a different space when we’re done.”