Santa Monica Museum of Art Announces Name Change and Move Downtown

The museum wants to be part of LA's 'seismic shift.'

Courtesy of the Santa Monica Museum of Art's website.

The Santa Monica Museum of Art has announced a move from its current Century City location to a new, 12,700-square foot space in downtown Los Angeles, designed by architecture firm wHY. Accompanying the move is also a name change: The museum will hereby be known as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Of course, this also comes with a handy initialism: ICA LA.

Kulapat Yantrasast, wHY’s founder and creative director, will oversee the design. wHY has worked on numerous other exhibition spaces, including the Worcester Art Museum, the Speed Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The new building, an industrial space at 1717 E. 7 th Street, is located in LA’s Arts District, with 7,000 square feet devoted to exhibition space.

“Our name and location may be changing, but what remains constant is our goal to reveal the vibrant, untold stories and pivotal moments in the history of contemporary art,” says Elsa Longhauser, executive director of the ICA LA, in a press release. “A burgeoning epicenter of artistic and cultural energy has recently emerged in downtown Los Angeles; ICA LA is thrilled to be part of this seismic shift.”

A sketch of the new ICA LA building in Downtown LA. Photo courtesy of wHY Architecture.

A sketch of the new ICA LA building in Downtown LA. Photo courtesy of wHY Architecture.

To fund the move, the institution has already secured $1.9 million in pledges. This contributes to a campaign to raise $5 million for the relocation, future exhibitions, and public programming. The institution remains committed to its status as a kunsthalle, neither maintaining a permanent collection nor charging admission.

Laura Donnelley, ICA LA’s Board of Directors’ President, says that the move is “to reinvent and redefine our organization the way that only a non-collecting museum focused on innovation, diversity, and discovery can.”


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