Now on view is Mingei International Museum’s first-ever offsite exhibition in partnership with San Diego Central Library: CRAFTING OPPORTUNITY – Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum. The survey of ceramics, furniture, fashion, fiber art, jewelry and metalwork opened last month in the Central Library Art Gallery, exploring the robust artistic output that followed World War II, including notable works by makers Ellamarie Woolley, Jack Lenor Larsen, Arline Fisch, Martha Martinez and Charles and Ray Eames- with many objects on view for the first time.
Mingei strives to inspire audiences to realize their own innate creativity, and foster community engagement and partnerships with community organizations. San Diego Central Library aims “to inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other.” The popular destination connects its diverse community to free educational and cultural resources that enrich lives.
Mingei events for CRAFTING OPPORTUNITY will complement both the Museum’s and Library’s engagement aspirations. Historian Leigh Wishner of Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museumcaptivated audiences with her Museums by the Yard on promotion of both artisanal and commercial textiles in mid-century America. This month, visitors will try their hand at punch needle rug hooking to craft woolen coasters in eclectic mid-century hues. As the exhibition winds down in July, local mid-century collectors Modern San Diego and Objects USA will share their favorite acquisitions of the era and suggest ways to start a bonafide collection. Throughout the run of the show, the Library Shop will host Shop Mingei’s Pop-Up Shop with beautiful handmade mid-century-inspired objects.
CRAFTING OPPORTUNITY exudes the pervasive spirit of experimentation, which continues to inspire and delight makers and collectors today. Mid-century craft and design blurred the lines between fine and applied arts, craft and production, rustic and modern and functional and conceptual. Women who had been displaced from wartime work by returning veterans pursued a range of opportunities in the field. A distinct sense of place – from the city of San Diego to the pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico – existed alongside domestic and international influences, and counterculture was refreshingly compatible with commercial success.
CRAFTING OPPORTUNITY will be on view at the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery, located at 330 Park Blvd., 9th Floor in downtown San Diego. Be sure to take in the library’s own permanent arts and cultural opportunities, from architecture designed by Rob Quigly and four art installations including works by Einar and Jamex de la Torre and Roy McMakin to the Rare Book Room tracing the history of books over 4,000 years.