San Diego has always been known as an artistic and cultural hub for the whole state of California. A renowned destination for artists of all kinds, this coastal city is filled with museums, galleries, and artistic spaces, with its unique cultural heart, Balboa Park, being one of the best places in all of America to enjoy gorgeous green spaces and fascinating museums all at once. Of all the many museums in Balboa Park and San Diego as a whole, the Mingei International Museum stands out as one of the very best.

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Mingei International Museum - Folk Art and Crafts in San Diego

A non-profit museum focused on folk art and crafts of all kinds, the Mingei International Museum has been around since the late 1970s, with its unique and beautiful exterior being one of the most iconic sights in all of Balboa Park. The name of the museum comes from the Japanese words 'min' and 'gei' meaning 'people' and 'art', respectively.

- The History - The Mingei International Museum first opened its doors in 1978 and has been a mainstay for San Diego's artistic and cultural scene ever since, even opening a second museum in Escondido, which closed down in 2010. Over the decades, Mingei International Museum has housed more than 140 different exhibitions, along wIth lectures, workshops, performances, and demonstrations. Its collections include over 17,000 objects sourced from more than 140 different countries, and part of what makes the Mingei so unique is the incredible variety of the pieces in its collection.

- The Collection - The collection of items at the Mingei International Museum includes pieces from many different regions and even eras. Visitors to the museum can enjoy art from as far back as the third century BC, right up to 21st century creations. The collection includes everything from Middle Eastern textiles, American pottery, Chinese wood carvings, Japanese metal work, Mexican masks, African furniture, and more. It’s a celebration of folk art, with a range of functional and beautiful pieces on display, all crafted with care, dedication, precision, and passion by artists through the ages, and any trip to the Mingei International Museum really takes visitors on a journey through time and a trip all around the world.

Transformation 2020

The Mingei International Museum is undergoing some big changes ahead of 2020. It will be closed to visitors until the fall of 2020, and visitors will notice some huge differences when San Diego's beloved folk art museum finally opens its doors once again. The new Mingei will feature a free-to-enter plaza level, accessible from both east and west sides, acting as a gateway into Balbao Park.

The plaza level will feature a gallery, store, restaurant, and learning center, opening new doors of opportunity for the museum and its guests, while evolving the artistic heart of Balboa Park on the whole. The second level of the museum will be dedicated to exhibitions, featuring an art and media library and various gallery spaces.

Old buildings and spaces are being restored, the influence of Mingei is growing, and the museum is even investing in green energy sources to become a eco-friendlier artistic destination. Up to $50 million is needed for this amazing project to realize its full potential, and if you want to make a contribution towards a better future for this historic San Diego museum, you can donate online today.

Visit Mingei International Museum

Since the Mingei International Museum will be closed until 2020 for its redevelopment and renovation, visiting the actual facility is not possible right now, but there are still ways in which you can engage with Mingei International Museum and enjoy the incredible work of its represented artists:

- The Liberty Station Location - Until the Mingei International Museum reopens in 2020, the museum will be based out of its Libery Station location in the Arts District at Building 200 of the Dick Laub NTC Command Center, 2640 Historic Decatur Road. Open from 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays through to Sundays but closed on Mondays, this location is where you can shop for a great range of crafts and artistic goods celebrating human creativity and beautiful works. Everything from plates to jewelry to apparel will be sold in the store, and all items embody the spirit and vibe of Mingei itself. You'll also find Café Mingei at this location, which is also open for most of the week and aims to bring the essence of the museum into a coffee shop environment, serving coffees from local roasters and a range of snacks too.

- Other Exhibitions and Locations - Until its grand reopening, Mingei is also popping up all across the San Diego region in various locations like the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery and the Escondido Municipal Gallery, with a range of beautiful items from the collection on display. website