MCA San Diego Lays Off Nearly 30 Staffers Ahead of Expansion

As one of the museum's venues shuts down, some get pink slips.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location. Courtesy the museum.

Eight full-time employees and 20 part-timers are being pink-slipped as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) prepares for an expansion project. The staffers, including the institution’s graphic designer, a public relations associate, and workers in the museum store, are mostly to be laid off in January, reports the Voice of San Diego, though some are already gone.

The news comes a few months after the museum promoted Kathryn Kanjo, previously deputy director, to the top job in May; she will succeed Hugh M. Davies in October. She oversees the museum, which has a downtown location in a historic building as well as a campus in the popular seaside neighborhood of La Jolla.

Architect Annabelle Selldorf will oversee an expansion of the museum’s La Jolla campus, quadrupling its exhibition space to about 40,000 feet and adding room for education programs. Since the La Jolla location will shut down indefinitely starting in January, the layoffs will be concentrated on those who work at that location.

“As we ready ourselves for construction, we will close the La Jolla facility in January 2017 and consolidate our programming to the Copley and Jacobs Buildings at the downtown location,” museum spokesperson Leah Straub told artnet News via email. “When the closure occurs in January, we will reduce staffing levels by 8 of our 44 full time positions and 20 of our 45 part-time positions. A few months ago we communicated this message to employees whose positions will be affected. We’re excited about what the future holds for MCASD and what this expansion means for our community.”

Programming will continue downtown during renovations. Currently on view at the museum’s La Jolla venue are a collection show and an exhibition of works under consideration for acquisition; on view downtown are several shows, including one devoted to the US-Mexico border, a hot topic since Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has pledged to build a wall there.

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