The Legler Benbough Foundation has had a powerful presence in Balboa Park since its inception in 1985. The Foundation and its president, Peter Ellsworth, have not only made a considerable impact on the park and its inhabiting institutions, but helped pave the way for a brighter future. Join us on this tour to see just how much this foundation has helped to make Balboa Park the world class park it is today.
On view in the San Diego Museum of Art, Joaquin Sorolla's "By the Seashore, Valencia." Acquired in 2014, the work is a recent contribution from the Legler Benbough Foundation, and the second painting by Sorolla to be acquired by the institution. Joaquin Sorolla holds a special place in the history of the San Diego Museum of Art as his "Maria at La Granaja" was given to the museum to start its permanent collection. In 1925, Archer Huntington, the founder of the Hispanic Society in America, gave the museum Sorolla's "Maria at La Granja" so that it may start its collection. Today, the museum is well known for its collection of Spanish works of art.
In the 1990's, as part of an endowment campaign, gallery 5 in the San Diego Museum of Art was named after the Legler Benbough Foundation. The foundation has made many contributions to the museum over the years. Aside from the generous donation of the Joaquin Sorolla painting, the foundation has also supported exhibitions, educational programs, scholarships, and fellowships.
The Black Womanhood Exhibition hosted by the San Diego Museum of Art in 2008, was made possible through donated funds from the Legler Benbough Foundation and other contributors.This exhibition included more than 100 sculptures, prints, postcards, photographs, paintings, textiles, and video installations by artists from Africa, Europe, America and the Caribbean. Black Womanhood explored how images of the black female body have been used differently in Africa and the West. Three different perspectives were presented from traditional Africa, Western colonial, and contemporary global. It also explored these perspectives, and how they contributed to contemporary ideas about Black Womanhood. Furthermore, this exhibition along with its accompanying catalog, has continued to contribute to the ongoing discussions of race, gender, and sexuality.
Breathtaking jewelry, exquisite costumes, and tragic endings. The beauty, drama, and tragedy surrounding the Romanov family came to the San Diego Museum of Art in 1997. From August to October, the San Diego Museum of Art hosted the traveling exhibition which included 300 objects covering 300 years of European history. Thanks to contributors like the Legler Benbough Foundation who helped make it possible, this exhibition was the first time that such a large collection of state jewels had left Russia.
The California Tower was originally built for the 1915 Panama California Exhibition. However, from 1935 until January 2015, it had been closed to the public. Since its opening, visitors are now able climb to the top of the tower to view, in 360 degrees, San Diego, the Pacific and Mexico.The Legler Benbough Foundation along with others helped make this iconic San Diego landmark available to the public again.
An urban arts program called Writerz Blok was commissioned by the San Diego Museum of Man to create graffiti murals in their Mayan & Egyptian galleries. Using vibrant colors and shapes, artists created real life sized images of scarab beetles, leopards, Mayan sculptures, celestial bodies, and more. Writerz Blok worked not only as an alternative to gang membership, but also to deter vandalism, and encourage artists to create meaningful works in their community. Legler Benbough was not named as a contributor to this specific project, but they helped make it possible by supporting the Museum's arts program.
Did you know that California's variety of climates and topography make it a hot spot for biodiversity? The Coast to Cactus in Southern California exhibition is a permanent exhibition on view at the San Diego Natural History Museum. This exhibition covers the diverse topography, and plant and animal life in California. This exhibition is also unique in that visitors are able to be a part of the exhibition by submitting old or new photos to a Digital Scrapbook to showcase how the region has changed over time. Donations from the Legler Benbough Foundation helped make this exhibition possible.
Can you imagine what prehistoric southern California was like?The Fossil Mysteries Exhibit is an interactive permanent exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum. This exhibition examines the fossil history in this region including pre-history of Southern California and Baja, California, Mexico. Themes in this exhibition include: evolution, extinction, ecology, and Earth processes. Fossils, models, murals, and dioramas are used to offer a multi-sensory experience. Visitors are able to look at and touch real fossils and rocks, as well as using an interactive model to make the Earth change shape. Donations from the Legler Benbough Foundation helped make this exhibition possible.
Watch an Emmy award winning film about Balboa Park! "Balboa Park, The Jewel of San Diego" is a thirty minute film about Balboa Park's history, what it offers, little known facts, and its most iconic landmarks. Historical research and script consultation was provided by author and San Diego History Center Historian, Iris Engstrand, Ph.D, and Roger Showley, author and journalist for the The San Diego Union-Tribune.The film plays three times daily in the Thorton Theater at the San Diego History Center and was made possible through the generous support of the Legler Benbough Foundation.
Are you curious to know more about the people behind the foundation? The San Diego History Center has the Legler Benbough Family Collection available for visitors. In both English and German this collection includes photographs, family papers and records from family mortuary business, and scrapbooks and newspaper clippings pertaining to Percy Benbough's civic career, private businesses, and the Benbough family's public life.
The Lore Behind the Roar! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo Exhibition ran from March 2016-August 2017. The exhibition explored the Zoo's contributions to popular culture, San Diego, and the animal world. From pioneering the concept of cage-less animals to the high-tech Frozen Zoo. Thanks to contributions from the Legler Benbough foundation and other contributors, visitors to the exhibition learned how important the Zoo has been to San Diego.
In collaborating with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experience program at UCSD, the Museum of Photographic Arts worked to create an interactive touch table. Students from UCSD used Open Exhibits multi-touch software and hardware to develop the interactive touch table featuring photographs from MOPA's collection. This table premiered in Osaka, Japan at the Knowledge Capital Trial Event. at the event, visitors could participate by creating their own favorite collection. Visitors were able to touch a photograph, enlarge it, or shrink it with their fingers, and then select their favorite photographs and title their collection. These curated collections were then projected in a wall display made up of 24 monitors. This interactive table was a pilot to a larger touch table that was created and later displayed in MOPA's galleries in 2012. This experience was made possible through the generous support of the Legler Benbough Foundation.
What are your favorite photos? Make your voice heard! The Soapbox exhibition was a crowd sourced exhibition in which the Museum of Photographic Arts selected 120 images from their photography collection for visitors to rate on the museum's touch table and website. The 40 highest rated images went into the museum's galleries as an exhibition in October 2012. This use of crowd sourcing for curation and audience engagement was ground breaking for the museum field at that time and was made possible through the generous support of the Legler Benbough Foundation,
Thank you for joining us on this tour. We hope that today was not only fun and engaging, but revealed just how much an impact you can have on Balboa Park.