Trust Us: A Visit To Mingei International Museum Is In Order


After an extensive three-year renovation, the doors of the Mingei International Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park are open wide again.

Local architect Jennifer Luce of Luce et Studio guided the expansion of the 1915 Spanish Colonial-style building, adding 10,000 square feet of exhibition and programming space—including a new theater, education center, bistro and shop. And to further enhance the connection between its architecture and collections, the Mingei invited women artists to create eight site-specific works.

Textile-driven designs include Petra Blaisse’s felt and voile theater curtain; Claudy Jongstra’s 30-foot felted bistro mural; and Christina Kim’s George Nakashima-inspired gallery curtains. Metalsmith Sharon Stampfer crafted the door pull for the Founders’ Gallery (below), for which Kim also designed paper window screens, and Billie Tsien designed gallery benches that reference ancient Asian and African seating. And working with manufacturer Zahner, Luce designed a perforated metal ceiling that echoes a player piano roll (above) as well as a digitally cut, hand-turned brass picket fence for the new courtyard.

The works bring a new engaging and contemporary edge to the museum, all while elevating its mission of honoring art and craft.

Mingei International Museum exhibit