The Santa Monica Museum of Art has been operating out of an office in Century City since they moved out of their long-time location at the Bergamot Art Station (in Santa Monica) in May, and they've been hunting since then for a new place to set up shop permanently. The most interesting part about their search is that it extends beyond Santa Monica, with the museum saying it's open to a move outside its titular city. One of the neighborhoods that SMMoA is looking into? Downtown LA, reports GlobeSt.
A rep for the Downtown Central Business Improvement District, a coalition of business owners who fund area improvements, tells GlobeSt that, while SMMoA hasn't signed any leases yet, the DCBID's has been helping the museum find potentially suitable properties. (The DCBID covers the Financial District, Bunker Hill, the Jewelry District.) "They have come to us and said, 'we don't feel like Bergamot Station and Santa Monica are going in the same direction that we want to go as an organization. They want to be more cutting edge, they want to be more engaged civically and they feel like what is happening downtown is what they want to be associated with...[T]hey actively want to be there," the rep says.
Downtown's high-ends arts scene just happens to be booming. The newly opened Broad Museum is the most visible example, but there's also a host of other new projects in the works: In the Historic Core, developer Tom Gilmore's working on transforming three buildings into the futuristic-looking Old Bank District Museum. In the Arts District, a huge new arts complex is taking over an old mill; the project is being overseen by Selldorf Architects, and is due to open this March. The A + D Museum has also taken up temporary residence in the Arts District. The SMMoA would fit right in in DTLA (except for that name).
SMMoA left Bergamot after some complications arose around plans to redevelop the arts complex that includes a posh hotel, retail space, offices, and galleries. The museum supported one of the proposed redevelopment plans, the museum's landlord supported another, and the museum's rent was raised to more than three times what they'd been paying. (In the end, Santa Monica chose another redevelopment plan.) After all of that, it's easy to see why the museum felt like it was time to move on.
· Arts & Culture, DTLA's Next Big Driver [Globe St.]
· Santa Monica Museum of Art Moving Out of Santa Monica [Curbed LA]