La Jolla opens its doors
by Dave Schwab
Published - 10/25/13 - 04:46 PM | 23984 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Visitors enjoy visiting the Approximately Infinite Universe exhibition in the galleries at MCASD La Jolla. Courtesy MCASD
Visitors enjoy visiting the Approximately Infinite Universe exhibition in the galleries at MCASD La Jolla. Courtesy MCASD
Guests can view La Jolla’s period architecture and tour many of its most historic institutions in the community’s Cultural Zone at the third annual Open Doors, an open-house style event Sunday, Nov. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is a collaboration between Cultural Zone organizations, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), La Jolla Historical Society, the Women’s Club, Cuvier Club, The Bishop’s School, St. James by-the-Sea, the Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla and the La Jolla Recreation Center.

The tour is a great way for people to see buildings the public doesn’t always have access to, and explore the area’s cultural heritage and historic architecture.

One of the attractions at Open Doors will be an exhibition titled “Scripps on Prospect” co-hosted by the La Jolla Historical Society and MCASD in Axline Court at the museum at 700 Prospect St.

The collaboration examines the historical evolution of MCASD, originally Ellen Browning Scripps’ residence and Wisteria Cottage, once the home of Ellen’s half-sister, Eliza Virginia. Historic architect Irving Gill designed or remodeled both iconic buildings, which have remained cultural and educational landmarks. The exhibit profiles the long and enduring history of each structure.

“The idea here is almost to think about the cultural zone as a museum and put the institutions and the architecture that is unique to the Cultural Zone on display free to the public for this particular day,” said Heath Fox, executive director of La Jolla Historical Society.

The “Scripps connection” is the theme of this year’s third installment of the cultural zone open house. That theme is showcased by the joint “Scripps on Prospect” exhibition.

“We’re showing the evolution of the villa and cottage, which became MCASD and Wisteria Cottage, tracing the history through photographs, architectural drawings and other documents celebrating the cultural zone here in La Jolla and the history and architecture of this place,” said Fox.

Another participant, St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 743 Prospect St., is gearing up for the event. Walter DuMelle, assistant to the rector, said the church has been busy assembling a display of “architectural plans and art and all things St. James.”

DuMelle said guests will notice the seaside church has a major restoration project under way, renovating its bell tower, roof, repainting its walls and restoring its stained-glass windows.

“We’ll have two in-house architects available to discuss the renovation project going on,” said DuMelle.

DuMelle said St. James is on board with this year’s Open House theme, “Emphasizing the Scripps Legacy,” along with its connection to other cultural-zone institutions. The Scripps family made a generous donation to St. James allowing creation of the church’s landmark bell tower.

There are other treats on tap for visitors to St. James on Nov. 3, said DuMelle.

“Along with opening our front door, we will have organ demonstrations so people can enjoy getting up-close-and-personal with that and there will be some singing as well,” he said. There will be refreshments at the special event, including coffee and scones.

For more information about the Open Doors event, call (858) 454-3541 or email For more info about “Scripps on Prospect” go here.
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