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MOPA – Museum Of Photographic Arts
Source: Photo by LeslieYu on Unsplash

MOPA – Museum Of Photographic Arts 

Originated from the Center for Photographic Arts, first formed in 1972 when a group of local San Diego photographers and art patrons decided to create a unique space dedicated to exploring and sharing their mutual interest and love for photography as an art form. It took another 9 years for the city council to donate a venue which will become the museum we know and love today – Museum of Photographic Arts. The Museum was established in 1983 and is located within historical Balboa Park. During the 12-month long period, MOPA underwent a renovation project, and in March 2000, the museum re-opened its doors to the public. It expanded its gallery space and added a classroom, a theater, a print viewing room and a 20,000-volume library.

According to the ICOM (International Council of Museums) Statutes, adopted by the 22nd General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, on 24 August 2007, the current definition of a museum is as follows:

“A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

This definition perfectly translates into MOPA’s mission and vision: to inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video. Their core values are audience and community-minded oriented. The institution embraces diversity, and strives to lead in the cultural arts environment.

San Diego MOPA Museum
Source: MOPA

MOPA showcases contemporary photographic tendencies, collaborates with both young and upcoming artists, as well as renowned and affirmed photographers. The permanent collection holds Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Works, and Photojournalism imagery. The Museum of Photographic Arts also organizes numerous workshops for the audiences from all age groups and all walks of life. If you are interested in acquiring skills which can help you take those perfect shots, this might be the right place for you. MOPA’s workshops will help you understand and better develop your knowledge even more on the arts of film, and photography. It is truly remarkable how we are able to see the world through different lenses (pun intended), after completing a course on photography 101.

As you plan your visit to the museum, keep in mind that every visitor may visit it without a general admission fee and can make a contribution instead. This voluntary contribution policy makes MOPA accessible to everyone based on what one wishes to pay, according to the Museum’s official website info. Another important info is that masks are not required for fully-vaccinated visitors.

The exact address Balboa Park at 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

Across from the Lily Pond


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