Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Awarded Prestigious Challenge Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 - 4:39 pm
$750,000 Largest Award in California and only San Diego Recipient

San Diego, CA— The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) was selected to receive an Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge grant of $750,000 in federal matching funds. These funds will support construction expenses for the expansion of the museum’s La Jolla campus, creating capacity for display of the permanent collection alongside temporary exhibitions. The project, led by Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, Selldorf Architects, will quadruple interior galleries while also creating stunning outdoor gathering spaces, including seaside terraces and an art park.
It is one of 32 NEH Challenge grants that leverage federal dollars to strengthen and sustain humanities infrastructure and capacity-building activities at cultural institutions. MCASD is the only grantee in San Diego and has received the largest grant dollar award in California this year. This is the fifth NEH grant awarded to the Museum since 1994.  
“We are  honored to be the recipient of NEH grant funds that will go towards the transformative expansion of our La Jolla flagship. This is an endorsement of the organization as a whole - it recognizes our 75-year history, our vision for the future, and our sound operations,” said Kathryn Kanjo, The David C. Copley Director and CEO. “We are grateful for the award and excited for the opportunity to leverage this peer-recognition with museum donors to ensure the successful completion of this project.”   
“This is a message to the country that San Diego is home to an important cultural site in MCASD,” she added.    “NEH is pleased to support the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla campus expansion,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “This exciting project will help MCASD better serve the public by putting more of its significant collection of contemporary art on display.”


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Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Kathryn Kanjo is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.