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Tue, Nov 17, 2020

Our Exhibition Philosophy

At the MAH, we believe that great exhibitions make our community grow stronger and more connected.

We are committed to creating exhibitions that inspire diverse audiences to engage deeply with contemporary art and Santa Cruz County history. Our exhibitions are a mix of commissioned, co-created, and presented work from a broad range of contributors, both local to Santa Cruz County and visiting. We see our visitors as partners in actively interpreting and exploring exhibition content.

Our exhibition strategies range from immersive spaces to issue-driven collaborations like:

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Borrowed and Broadened

In borrowed and broadened exhibitions, like Wild Edge by Tom Killion, we showcase powerful artwork and artifacts from artists, collectors, or institutions worldwide and link that content to local projects with local partners.

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In community-sourced exhibitions, like See, be Seen, we invited creative residents of Santa Cruz County and the greater Bay Area to contribute and showcase their own artwork, stories, and objects.

Check out our current calls for collaboration here >>

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Community Issue

In community issue exhibitions, like We're Still Here, we work closely with local partners to create new artwork and installations that spark dialogue and action on local issues, like foster care or senior isolation.

Learn more about you can bring this model to your institution in our free Community-Issue Toolkit >>

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In immersive exhibitions, like Regeneración by Justin Favela, we invite diverse artists and storytellers to take visitors deep into specific creative and cultural experiences that ignite unexpected connections.

Have an Exhibition Idea?

We're always on the lookout for creative group show proposals. Submit yours today.

Our Core Narratives

We've identified core issues that help guide how our programs and initiatives are developed, curated, and organized. These core narratives help us consciously embrace how art and history can integrate with and impact our community.

Our core narratives include:

Health & Wellness

Mental health, holistic healing, art and wilderness therapy. Access to care, building community, focusing on the needs of our most vulnerable. Connecting communities and resources.

Environmental Justice & Creative Ecologies

Exploring the places where culture and environment intersect—sea level rise, natural resources, climate change, and equity. Interdisciplinary strategies to negotiate environmental issues.

Memory & Place

Looking back to look forward. Heritage, culture, and tradition. Movement, migration, and place. Institutional and collective memory. Storytelling.

Regenerative Design & Cultural Activism

Creation overconsumption. Biomimicry, working with and through the land. Art that gives back– a tool for restoration, renewal, or revitalization. Advocating for long term public interest.

Joy & Beauty

Experiences that provide space to pause and imagine. Relief, reflection, escape. Stillness. Uncanniness. Consideration of the unknown. Inspiring wonder and awe.

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