Three years of construction at Balboa Park’s House of Charm is completed. The reimagined, redesigned, greatly enlarged Mingei International Museum, which occupies most of the historic building, has finally reopened!
The multicultural Mingei Museum, whose focus is crafts and design, opened its doors to the public yesterday. To celebrate, admission to the upstairs galleries will be free during Labor Day weekend through Monday, September 6.
I slowly walked through the new spacious indoor pavilion that occupies the ground level. The ground floor will always be free to the public.
A big seating area invites visitors to relax. Several large glass cases display colorful museum pieces. There’s a nearby gift shop and café, too. Through one door anybody can go outside to sit in a beautiful courtyard at tables under shady umbrellas. (That might become a favorite place to read and write!)
The second floor’s main galleries are approached up stairs through the House of Charm’s tower. As you head up the steps, look up. You’ll be wowed by renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture chandelier! (Lights in the stairwell walls cast intricate shadows, which one guide at the museum said he really likes!)
I walked about the upstairs galleries and admired the many exhibits. I particularly like folk art. I laughed at some pieces, stood in wonder before others.
Artwork handcrafted by “ordinary” folk from all around the world often feels more powerful and authentic than so-called fine art. Because its creation typically flows from human experiences that are unique but universal. Folk art represents what day-to-day people consider desirous or meaningful in life.
By the way, if you’re an artist in San Diego seeking inspiration, or if you want to do some art research, there’s a huge library on the second floor! The Frances Hamilton White Art Reference Library features a specialized collection of over 12,000 books!
I took some photos to provide a taste of the new, more-extraordinary-than-ever Mingei International Museum.
Next time you’re in Balboa Park, you definitely need to check it out! And make sure to venture outside on the second floor, to enjoy amazing views of the Plaza de Panama!