The Museum's lecture-based programs offer curators, educators, artists, and guest speakers the opportunity to present a wide variety of perspectives on the Museum’s exhibitions and collections. Guest speakers include well known curators from other museums, artists whose work is being shown in the Museum, musicians, writers, cultural historians, and others who provide a dynamic dialogue about the ideas and issues presented within the Museum's exhibitions. The Museum collaborates with cultural institutions within Balboa Park and throughout the region to inspire a rich conversation between speakers, performers, and the audience. Audience participation and discussion, and opportunities to meet the presenters are important features of these programs.
One to three times a year, the Museum hosts symposia based on current special exhibitions. The program features internationally recognized scholars, museum directors, and important minds in the field of visual studies and culture from all over the globe. This three hour program affords audience members the ability to learn more about the art and artists we bring to San Diego, from several external voices. Contact us for more information.
Friday Morning Lecture and Tour Series
ArtStops are 15 minute, staff-led tours of one to three works on view. Museum curators and educators present these brief yet always enlightening and informative talks every third Tuesday at noon.
Support Council Lectures
The San Diego Museum of Art enjoys the advocacy and assistance of eight support councils that offer members a wonderful opportunity to deepen their relationship with the Museum through their own specific area of interest. Several times a year these support councils offer special lectures and discussions led by curators and guest speakers. The support councils’ programs complement the Museum’s schedule of exhibitions, the collection, and ongoing education activities.
Since 2000, The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego have partnered to present the annual Axline Lecture in honor of Jackie and Rea Axline, longtime trustees and supporters of both museums who in 1999 bequeathed generous endowments to both institutions. Hosted in alternate years by each museum, this annual event offers an opportunity to say thank you to current museum members, donors, and supporters. Previous Axline Lectures have featured contemporary artist Alfredo Jaar (2014), sculptor Charles Ray (2013), South African artist William Kentridge (2011), architect, Picasso scholar, and author John Richardson (2009), artists Maya Lin (2008) and Richard Serra (2006); and art critic Roberta Smith (2004).