Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA

The Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California was built with one purpose in mind. That purpose was to offer world wide art in one area. Visitors to this museum are able to step into different eras and cultures from around the world. The word Mingei was chosen for the name because it means `art of the people.' It seemed to make perfect sense since that is the premise behind the museum. Mingei International was started in 1978 where it has always collected, conserved, and educated. Some of the exhibits have pieces from anonymous artists as far back as ancient times, as well as some of the more contemporary designers.

The museum is located in Balboa Park downtown of Escondido and the San Diego area. The downtown section is as prolific in its diversity as the museum itself. Financial support comes from the San Diego Commission for the Arts and Culture, as well as local donations. Depending on which location you wish to visit there are different hours. The Balboa Park structure is typical in its Spanish style with symmetrical architecture to welcome all guests. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. They are closed on Mondays and national holidays. The museum does allow for school and other tour groups with reservations. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for youths. Group rates are $3. Children under 6 are free. Residents can also attend on the third Tuesday each month for free.

Currently there are four exhibitions at the San Diego location. These are the fifty six Chinese Hat Boxes, Transformed by Fire, Fisch out of Water and Sonabai. Fisch out of Water was created by Arline Fisch, a local San Diego resident. Her muse has been sea creatures native to the area including Jelly Fish. The exhibition will end on May 16, 2010.

Sonabai Rajawar is a self taught artist who lived in isolation for 15 years. From India she has used a number of cultural influences for her sculptures. The exhibit will be in place until September 5, 2010. The permanent exhibits at San Diego's art museum are set up based on location. There is a Mexico, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Africa, Middle East, USA, and Pre- Columbian exhibit. All told there are 19,600 objects from 141 countries on exhibit from the 3rd century BCE to present day. Some of the objects include an ancient clay pot to a 21st century Venetian glass display.

The Mexico exhibit offers pottery, wood carvings, textiles, masks, and retablos. From India one can see bronzes, wood carvings, textiles, and pottery. China showcases costumes, wood carvings, pottery, and jewelry. Japan offers lacquer ware and metal work among others that have been mentioned in other exhibits. Indonesia provides a diverse collection with ancestral monuments, masks, and sculptures.

From each location around the world one can expect to find similar items like pottery, only with the cultural flair of that area. It shows the distinct differences one can see in culture, and yet how certain things are similar.

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