Who We Are
We maintain a permanent collection of regionally significant art and artifacts, a research library, historical archive, and historic sites including the Evergreen Cemetery, Octagon Building, and Davenport Jail. More than 2,000 K-12 students visit the museum annually to learn about art and history.
At the MAH, local historians join community members on volunteer committees to preserve and promote Santa Cruz County history, producing two books per year and an online journal. We collect and highlight unheard stories from the many people who made Santa Cruz—including farmworkers and fishermen, the Amah Mutsun Tribe, and immigrants from around the world— in our History Gallery and podcast. We also offer fellowship opportunities and an annual “Distinguished Historian” award.
In other gallery spaces, the MAH features cross-disciplinary exhibitions of contemporary artwork curated around themes important to the local community. We strive for a balance between participatory, community-generated content and professionally curated exhibitions featuring work from regional, national, and world-renowned artists. We are now one year into our museum without walls initiative, for which we are producing a series of public events, site-specific installations, and social interventions in outdoor spaces throughout the county.
With support from our collaborators and new partnerships yet to be formed, we look forward to upholding our reputation as one of the most creative and forwardthinking community museums in the country, while remaining true to our roots and the community whose vision we represent.
The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) is a thriving community gathering place that offers a full slate of art and history exhibitions, visual and performing artworks, public festivals, education and outreach programs, and cultural celebrations in collaboration with our many partners.
To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections that enrich our community.
To bring people together through art and local history to explore our diverse cultures.
• Engagement & Collaboration We deliver interactive, educational, and entertaining opportunities through our numerous partnerships, encouraging participation in the creative and learning process.
• Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility We respect individuals from all backgrounds and identities, with diverse life experiences, and acknowledge our connectedness, commonalities, and shared humanity.
• Innovation & Experimentation We challenge assumptions, explore various perspectives, and test new ideas to create experiences that are bold, unconventional, and thought-provoking.
• Excellence & Rigor We pride ourselves on professionalism, artistic excellence, historical accuracy, and meaningful social impact.
• Accountability, Integrity & Responsibility We recognize that transparency and careful stewardship of resources are essential to our operations, and cultivate an empowered workforce and board that share this fiscal responsibility.
were developed by a team of community stakeholders in
They represent the aspirations we hold, the purpose we serve, and the beliefs we share:
The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History officially came into existence in 1996—the result of the merging of the Santa Cruz Historical Society (founded in 1954) and the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County (founded in 1981).
In fact, our story dates back even further to the mid-1980s, when the two organizations joined forces to build a center for art, history, and community in downtown Santa Cruz. With support from the McPherson family, local donations, and a federal grant following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the ribbon was cut on the new McPherson Center in 1993 before the groups officially merged in 1996 to form the Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center, or the MAH as we are known today.
Among our major accomplishments of the past decade have been to unite a wide spectrum of partners around the “participatory museum” concept, in which community members co-create exhibitions about important issues. We also introduced Abbott Square Market—a food and beverage marketplace on the ground floor of the former county jail—and revitalized Abbott Square itself into a vibrant public plaza that serves as a hub for year-round creative happenings.
Now, moving forward under the leadership of executive director Robb Woulfe, we will carry the MAH’s strong outreach tradition forward, while ensuring that our exhibitions and programming are not only relevant, responsive to, and representative of our diverse community, but also of high artistic merit and research value. We will do this by producing and cultivating meaningful, place-based work that animates and enlivens the MAH as well as public spaces throughout Santa Cruz County.
The past few years presented challenges like never before, between the COVID pandemic and California wildfires. It has been a time to reflect on our values—both as a society, and as an organization. At the MAH, we looked inward, assessed our strengths, and planned the steps we will take to ensure our best service to the community in this time of extraordinary change.
It is a new era for the MAH and Santa Cruz County. We look forward to your partnership in the journey ahead.
Who We Serve
The MAH serves all who live, work, and play in broader Santa Cruz County, irrespective of age, income, culture, creed, gender, or language. We are a community museum dedicated to serving our community, no matter who you are or what you believe.
In recent years we have observed that some people are less likely to visit the museum than others. Our guests should reflect the diversity of the county, and so we have made and continue to make special efforts to reach out to and offer relevant programming to empower and engage specific groups, including people of color, low-wage laborers, DREAMers, senior citizens, foster and LGBTQ+ youth, and Salinas Valley farmworkers. Undertaken in a spirit of inclusiveness and bridgebuilding, we believe this helps to grow a stronger and more connected community, in keeping with our mission.
Still, we feel it is important to emphasize that the MAH is for everyone—whether you are a history buff, art aficionado, or all-around curious person. We are for students of all ages, teachers and professors, parents and families, storytellers and listeners, performers, poets, and spectators—and every other cultural enthusiast or creative individual we did not mention. We serve visitors, new residents, and those who have called Santa Cruz County home for generations. We also strive to benefit local artists through commission opportunities as well as exposure and exchange with regional, national, and international artists. We are here as a resource for our collaborators and partnering institutions, whether that takes the form of co-presentations or a simple offer to
use our space. For those who are new to art and history, we offer access points and educational materials, in both English and Spanish, to help you understand and appreciate all that the MAH has to offer.
An underlying tenet of MAH programming is accessibility, an ethos reflected in the numerous free events, pay-what-you-can admission, affordable ticket pricing policy, membership discounts, and broad geographic reach. We have been working to expand our sphere of influence even further through pop-up installations and cultural experiences beyond our downtown nucleus. Our aim is to reach people wherever they may be, inspiring wonder and delight in unexpected spaces throughout the community.
What We Believe
We believe art and history have the power to captivate and delight, to heal and inspire, to shed light on who we are and who we aspire to be. Through them, we can forge unexpected connections and strengthen our community.
We believe that every person has a right to engage with creative and educational experiences on their level, no matter who they are—from our most dedicated museum visitor to the person who takes part in a pop-up experience from the MAH in their own neighborhood.
We believe the MAH should be a welcoming, comfortable space. Every decision we make is guided by that principle, and we continue to learn, grow, and evolve to make sure it is true for all people.
We believe there should be something to inspire each and every one of you whether you have chosen to take on the mantle of social justice, hope to learn about regional history, or simply appreciate a transformative piece of art. This is our MAH, and it should be for all of us.
We believe in collaboration as a core operating tenet. Together with our partners, collaborators, donors, and volunteers, we can produce exhibitions and experiences that are relevant and enlightening for a broad spectrum of our diverse community.
Our vision for the future is inclusive, accessible, meaningful, and exciting. We believe it is something we can all get behind, and that the roadmap we have developed will get us there. We believe that together we can make this vision a reality.
What We Do
The MAH offers a wide array of programs and activities for the community. To clarify and guide our programming moving forward, we developed the following framework.
Now offered online and onsite, our rotating exhibitions feature commissioned, co-created, and presented works by local, national, and international artists, as well as artwork and objects from our collection. Many are collaborations between the MAH and the community; others are organized by our visionary team of curators.
Our new festivals showcase the MAH as a museum without walls through large-scale sculptures, site-specific installations, social interventions, and live performances outdoors and in. These are curated around established themes with the aim of uniting community through a shared sense of wonder and awe.
This is our program of ticketed lectures, concerts, and performances featuring homegrown and visiting talent, which we present in partnership with local collaborators.
The MAH is proud to have a large and diverse group of partners who spearhead this series of events and activities celebrating local culture, heritage, and tradition.
Our robust education program includes a variety of learning opportunities—from field trips, artist talks, guided tours, art camps, and hands-on classes to virtual learning—designed to enhance understanding of our exhibitions among all audiences, from school groups to visiting guests.
We also offer engagement opportunities beyond the physical space of the MAH that include pop-up events, mobile exhibitions, community speaker programs, and other activities both offsite and online.
These are our fundraisers and “friend-raisers” that we host throughout the year as a way to raise dollars and awareness for the MAH.
Because so much of our work is developed through the lens of community and public benefit, we have identified core issues that are important to local citizens as a way to help us consciously embrace how art and history can integrate with and impact community life.
These areas of focus emphasize our sense of place, local identity, and collective history. Also seen as our spheres of impact, they help guide how programs and initiatives at the MAH are developed, curated, and organized, creating opportunities for cultural practitioners to collaborate, inspire, and elicit creative solutions that can result in deep and lasting change.
• 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 over consumption. 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.
Milestones & Highlights
Here are some of the key events that helped to shape the MAH into the institution we are today:
1954 - The Santa Cruz Historical Society is founded.
1972 - The Santa Cruz County Historical Museum opens at the renovated Octagon Building at the corner of Front and Cooper Streets.
1981 - The Art Museum of Santa Cruz County is founded, and Robert MacDonald is appointed as the first director in 1982. The museum holds exhibits at the downtown Santa Cruz Public Library and other venues.
1983 - Exhibition highlight: Stephen De Staebler: An Exhibition of Recent Bronzes
1986 - The Friends of the Octagon unite with the Santa Cruz County Society for Historical Preservation to form the Octagon Historical Trust, which then merges with the Santa Cruz Historical Society to create the Santa Cruz County Historical Trust.
1986 - Exhibition highlight: David Hockney, lithographs
1988 - Santa Cruz County gives the former jail building at 725 Front Street to the Historical Trust and Art Museum for a future downtown cultural center. A capital campaign commences to fund renovations.
1989 - The Loma Prieta earthquake levels much of downtown Santa Cruz, but the concrete jail building is not damaged. Planning resumes for the cultural center, now re-envisioned as a new structure next to the old jail.
1990 - Exhibition highlight: Designs for Independent Living, a MoMA traveling exhibition
1990 - Federal and state money becomes available for the new structure. Fundraising resumes led by a generous gift from the McPherson family along with donations from many local supporters.
1992 - The groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new McPherson Center for Art & History at 705 Front Street.
1993 - The historic Davenport Jail opens as a museum, operated by the Historical Trust.
1993 - The Art Museum of Santa Cruz County and the History Museum of Santa Cruz County, operated by the Historical Trust, move into their shared space at the McPherson Center.
Milestones & Highlights (Cont’d)
1993 - Exhibition highlight: Paper Trails: Abstract Expressionist Prints
1994 - Exhibition highlight: Myth and Magic: Oaxaca Past and Present
1994 - The first Santa Cruz County History Journal is published.
1995 - Exhibition highlight: Margaret Rinkovsky: The Odyssey Landscapes Reconsidered
1996 - The two museums merge into one organization as the Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center, or “the MAH” for short.
1996 - Chuck Hilger is appointed the first director of the MAH, having previously served as director of the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County since 1985.
1996 - Exhibition highlight: Howard Ikemoto: Chi/A Family Divided
1997 - Exhibition highlight: Time and Place: Fifty Years of Santa Cruz Studio Ceramics
1998 - Exhibition highlight: Belle Yang: A Chinese-American Odyssey
1999 - Exhibition highlight: When Borders Migrate
2000 - Exhibition highlight: Happy Birthday, Santa Cruz County! Celebrating 150 Years
2001 - Exhibition highlight: Chinatown Dreams: The Photographs of George Lee
2002 - Exhibition highlight: Simply Scene: The California Paintings of Herman Struck
2002 - Publication Highlight: Santa Cruz County History Journal Number 5: A gathering of voices: the native peoples of the Central California Coast
2003 - Paul Figueroa is appointed director.
2003 - Exhibition highlight: El Rio/The River: Artist’s Impressions
2004 - Exhibition highlight: Another Side of Ansel Adams: Santa Cruz and Beyond
2005 - Exhibition highlight: The True Artist is an Amazing Luminous Fountain: Selected Works from the di Rosa Preserve of Art & Nature
2005 - Publication highlight: The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture by John Leighton Chase
2006 - Exhibition highlight: Cuentos y Encuentros, paintings by Ray Martín Abeyta
2007 - Exhibition highlight: Close to the Flame: In the Spirit of Burning Man
2008 - Exhibition highlight: Around the Kitchen Table, art and artifacts from the permanent collection
2008 - The Evergreen Cemetery Preservation Ad Hoc Committee is established to support the stewardship of the historical site.
2009 - Exhibition highlight: Eduardo Carrillo: Within a Cultural Context
2010 - Exhibition highlight: Surf City Santa Cruz: A Wave of Inspiration
2011 - Nina Simon is appointed director.
2011 - Exhibition highlight: Rydell Visual Art Fellows
2012 - The organization changes its name to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
2012 - Exhibition highlight: Joan Brown: Meditations on Love
2012 - Festival highlight: Inaugural year of GLOW, a festival of fire and light
Milestones & Highlights (Cont’d)
2013 - Exhibition highlight: Santa Cruz is in the Heart
2014 - Publication highlight: Santa Cruz County History Journal Number 7: Redwood logging and conservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains: a split history
2014 - A Chinese memorial gate is installed at Evergreen Cemetery to honor Santa Cruz’s early Chinese immigrants.
2014 - Exhibition highlight: Making It: Chicano Artists from the Mexican Museum Collection
2015 - Exhibition highlight: Princes of Surf
2015 - Festival highlight: Inaugural year of the Día de los Muertos celebration in collaboration with Senderos
2016 - The James Irvine Foundation awards the museum $1.1 million to focus on diversifying community participation.
2016 - Exhibition highlight: Screaming Hand
2017 - A renovated Abbott Square opens on the museum’s doorstep, replete with commissioned artworks, gardens, public seating, and a new food hall.
2017 - Exhibition highlight: Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth
2018 - Exhibition highlight: California’s Wild Edge: Prints by Tom Killion
2018 - Publication highlight: Santa Cruz County History Journal Number 9: LandScapes
2019 - Exhibition highlight: We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors and Social Isolation
2020 - Robb Woulfe is appointed director.
2020 - Exhibition highlight: Queer Santa Cruz opens as the MAH’s first virtual exhibition.
2021 - The MAH celebrates its 25th anniversary since the two museums merged in 1996.
2021 - Exhibition highlight: In These Uncertain Times, a project about the creative resilience of Santa Cruz County’s response to COVID-19 and the systemic injustices it has revealed
2021 - Exhibition highlight: RedBall Project by Kurt Perschke
2021 - Exhibition highlight: The Art of the Santa Cruz Speed Wheel
2021 - Festival highlight: Inaugural year of Frequency, a biennial festival of light, sound, and digital culture
2021 - Exhibition highlight: Ocean of Light: Submergence by Squidsoup
2022 - Exhibition highlight: Rydell Visual Art Fellows
2022 - Exhibition highlight: Atmosphere by Enid Baxter Ryce
2022 - Exhibition highlight: Strange Weather, in collaboration with the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation
2022 - Exhibition highlight: Freak Power
2022 - Exhibition highlight: The Land of Milk and Honey with the MexiCali Biennial
2022 - Festival highlight: Inaugural year of CommonGround, a biennial festival of place-inspired, outdoor work
What Sets Us Apart
The MAH is one of a kind, embracing all that is wild, weird, and wonderful. It’s what keeps our visitors coming back, wondering what we will come up with next.
In that way we are a reflection of Santa Cruz County, for our community is not just one thing—it’s academic, and full of outdoor adventure seekers. It is hard-working, multilingual, quirky, and fun-loving. The people of Santa Cruz are concerned with social justice and environmental equity. We are forward-thinking, fans of contemporary art, and lifelong learners fascinated by how our past informs our present.
The MAH interprets art and history through many lenses. We commission, co-create, and present projects that employ visual art, performance, film, digital media, and social practice to transform public space, both indoors and out.
We approach our work with a sense of humor, perspective, and balance, grounded in deep, thoughtful reflection on what our community needs and wants. We love what we do and pour ourselves into it. We seek out knowledge and consider diverse views, then tackle our work from an informed place with an open mind and adventurous spirit.
The result is, well, the MAH—that homey, boundary-pushing, happy, energized space that animates the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, where people intersect, connect, and thrive. Where you can grab a coffee, meet up with friends for happy hour, check out an exhibition, or get creative yourself. Where you can read books in Spanish, listen to a local band, learn about our shared history, or contemplate a perspectiveshifting work of art.
We measure our success by our ability to meet each and every one of our guests— whether in time, place, or thought.
Transcendent Art & History
The MAH’s innovative approach juxtaposes contemporary art and culture with historic preservation—not only highlighting present narratives, but also past events and views from which they evolved or diverged. Our exhibitions generally feature creative interpretations alongside historic artifacts and ephemera, in a way that deepens understanding of both and serves as a springboard for further reflection. An example is our recent exhibition, In These Uncertain Times, which placed original, community-sourced artwork about the COVID-19 pandemic within the historical context of the 1918 influenza in Santa Cruz.
The MAH is very much about social and ecological justice—concerns that are reflected in our core narratives, and much of our programming. To curate exhibitions around important issues, we reach out to the people who know about or are affected by them. We invite original art and stories as a way to acknowledge, honor, and amplify the voices of those less often heard. These co-created exhibitions are at the heart of the “participatory museum” that the MAH famously pioneered over the last decade. Examples include two ongoing projects: Kincentricity, an Indigenous community garden project with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and the London Nelson Legacy Initiative, an effort honoring an early Black pioneer of Santa Cruz.
The MAH also recognizes that aesthetic experience wields a tremendous power to inspire and delight in and of itself, and does not always need to be issue-driven or require a call to action. Thus we also embrace “art for the sake of art,” seeking out the most exciting, interesting, thoughtful projects the global art
world has to offer, in order to provide enlightening experiences and inspiring spaces here in our own community.
Moving forward, we have been planning additional ways to expand and connect with our world community—by holding panel discussions with thought-leaders, curating work by renowned national and international artists, and joining conversations about the state of art and humanities today.
All of our work is grounded in culture and creativity. We embrace how art and history can integrate with and impact community life, by strengthening our sense of place, local identity, and collective history.
At the MAH we understand that self-reflection is a crucial step towards growing, and we embrace it wholeheartedly. By reflecting on our successes and failures, we make sure to move forward in ways that will benefit our community, even as our community changes.
We also know that self-reflection is useless in a vacuum, so we do our best to listen to the community we serve. We use surveys, interviews, and first-hand observations to ensure our efforts are having their intended effects, and that our guests have meaningful experiences. We continue to fine-tune what we do using what we learn from you, our board, our partners, and staff.
We recently completed MAH 2026, a strategic plan that will serve as our roadmap for continued growth over the next five years. Together with our stakeholders, we brainstormed strategies, goals, and benchmarks by which to assess our progress. Each year we will reflect on what worked and what we need to do better, then use what we learn to refine our plans for the coming year.
We are still learning. We know we have room to improve, and we welcome your feedback.
In short, we are committed to serving our diverse community, and to changing and growing along with it. We will do that by embracing a culture of openness, listening to our guests, reflecting on our progress, and being willing to evolve. In this way we remain relevant to all who live in and visit Santa Cruz County, now and in the future.
Museum without Walls
In the 1980s, our founders used the phrase “museum without walls” to describe what would later become the MAH. At the time it was a temporary solution to the challenge of finding a permanent home, which at one point took the form of a mobile “Art Box” until the museum opened at its present location in 1993. That spirit of a museum without walls still thrives today, albeit in various forms.
In a physical sense, Abbott Square was a major and momentous step out into the community, bringing experiences of art and culture into a comfortable public space while at the same time revitalizing our downtown center into a hub of activity. Our outdoor square and food market not only spark opportunities for interaction, but also infuse vibrancy and economic vitality into Santa Cruz by drawing locals and visitors to our downtown center
Today, we are excited to take our museum without walls into unexpected public spaces throughout broader Santa Cruz County through a series of public sculptures, pop-up experiences, historical interpretations, and other activations. By doing so we will meet people wherever they are, especially those who don’t make it downtown regularly. We will harness the power of art, history, and creativity to promote place identity, community livability, and civic engagement— all vital to our creative economy.
The MAH is without walls in another sense too, in that we take great pains to make sure that all of our spaces are welcoming and inclusive for all people, no matter who you are or what you believe.
The MAH has long worked to unite community, engaging a broad spectrum of individuals, groups, and organizations, and sometimes boasting as many as 2,000 partners on a project. Collaboration is fundamental to what we do.
We are humbled and honored to have such a committed group of partners. Our work would not be possible without your support. To the individual donors, volunteers, collaborators, philanthropic organizations, state and federal agencies, and private funders—we thank you.
We are actively working to strengthen and grow our current partnerships through deep, meaningful collaborations. We continue to establish new partnerships and reconnect with past partners with whom we’ve not engaged recently.
We are proud of the MAH—not only of where we are now, but of our colorful, grassroots past, and our promising future. We are eager to hear what you think, and to share our plans with you. Our hope is that you will be as excited as we are to build a new future together.
Together with our partners in the creative sector, the MAH plays a key role in nurturing cultural vibrancy in Santa Cruz County and beyond. We see this as encompassing two interconnected spheres—economy and society.
First, the MAH is part of and contributes to the creative economy, which is one of the largest industry clusters in our state. In California alone, the creative industries support 2.68 million jobs, $209.6 billion in labor income, and $650.3 billion in annual output. This involves not only the arts, media, and design, but creativity itself as a strategy for innovation. Creative practice invigorates the entrepreneurial ecosystem and is ultimately a driver of economic development.
At the same time, art and history experiences benefit society by promoting livability—the quality of life that a community offers its residents and guests. A catalyst for reflection and inspiration, creative practice invites engagement and collaboration. It fosters pride in place and helps nurture a community’s identity. It also provides economic opportunity for artists, designers, writers, performers, and other members of the creative sector.
Our work to enhance cultural vibrancy centers on the following:
Similar to the placemaking movement in community development, placekeeping recognizes and celebrate a community’s existing cultural identity, history, and people through artistic and historical interpretation. Not only do the MAH’s exhibitions, festivals, and programs encourage both localism and tourism, they invest in our cultural profile in a way that enriches the lives of our local
community, invites visitor participation, and ensures we remain attractive and relevant in these rapidly changing times.
Cultivating a sense of belonging contributes to healthy, meaningful lives and safe, inclusive neighborhoods. When we encourage culture and identity to flourish, civic participation increases. MAH programming animates our museum, historic sites, and public spaces in a way that honors our diverse cultures and histories and encourages interaction and community building. We engage people to collaborate around art and history; create spaces for encounter, dialogue, and social cohesion; and build individual and collective capacity to sustain resilient communities.
Connectedness is key to growing a sense of belonging, and the experiences we craft around it encourage people to come together, interact, and engage in mutual value creation by exchanging knowledge and information. Residents who are engaged become invested in the MAH and one another. This builds the public value and perception of the organization, while contributing to the community’s social and economic wellbeing overall.
We took and continue to take actions designed to ensure financial sustainability now and in the future. In the short term, we reduced staff numbers and have been actively pursuing relief funding opportunities including grants, small business loans, and assistance programs focused on capacitybuilding, resilience, and recovery.
For the long term, we have been working to strengthen our business model with financial strategies that include striking a realistic balance between earned and contributed revenue, shoring up cash flow, expanding our resources, and broadening our base of support.
Our efforts toward resource development include re-engaging past donors and supporters and introducing new revenue streams, with particular attention to opportunities for income growth that
are aligned with our programs and artistic development.
Over the coming years, the MAH will revise its budget to allocate a greater percentage of resources to critical areas including creation and content development, promoting revenue-generating activities, and prioritizing initiatives that support efficient operations. We have already shifted our previous, payroll-heavy allocation into one more focused on the goods and services needed for quality program delivery, marketing impact, and infrastructure improvements, and we will continue to scale these to new operating budgets aligned to industry benchmarks.
Although our financial continuity has been challenged due to the pandemic, we remain optimistic, hopeful, and committed to serving our community.
The MAH has been working diligently to diversify our funding portfolio and expand our base of support despite the toll the COVID-19 closures have taken on us and the global cultural sector.
We are an innovative, collaborative, participatory organization that is open and responsive to our changing community. We are organized, efficient, and ready to take on the future.
Today the MAH is proud to play a central role in Santa Cruz County’s thriving creative industries. Located in the downtown center of Santa Cruz, our museum sits at the crossroads of arts, culture, business, and economic development. As a center for humanities and interdisciplinary work, we bring art, history, and cultural experiences to diverse audiences. As a center for business and commerce, we use creative practice to promote place identity, enhance livability, grow engagement, drive tourism, and invigorate the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a center for community and exchange, we cultivate ideas, amplify voices, and inspire innovation. Together with our peers, we work to ensure that Santa Cruz County remains a great place to live, work, and play.
Here are some of the approaches we use to grow creative capacity, competitive advantage, and cultural vibrancy:
• Articulating narratives that represent the beliefs, values, and ideals of Santa Cruz County to guide our programming
• Launching a biennial festival series to connect and inspire patrons and guests in and around the MAH and County
• Unveiling temporary public artworks that invite engagement and interaction while creating a draw to our civic spaces
• Creating new artistic work and cultural content in addition to preserving and presenting our collections
• Designing virtual activities that invite online interaction to serve our community during and after the pandemic
• Investing in local artists, historians, and creative practitioners via commissions, residencies, space, and resources
• Encouraging a shift toward regenerative economy within our community to capitalize on opportunities
• Building support for citizen artists and storytellers to increase involvement in creativity and cultural exchange
• Committing to accelerating diversity and equity in our cultural workforce and leadership pipeline
• Collaborating with other cultural organizations to strengthen our mutual impact
• Engaging in the global conversation by connecting local and regional initiatives to broader contexts
In these ways we also ensure that the MAH offers something for everyone—from those who find their way to Abbott Square for food, drink, and creative happenings; to those who enter the exciting world of art and history that is the MAH itself; to those who don’t get downtown often but still appreciate their world transformed by public art, or the enlightenment of an educational experience. We believe the MAH can be all of those things—at once a space to communicate needs, perspectives, and ideals as it is a place to be awestruck by an exceptional work of art or insightful revelation about our past.
The MAH has long been an industry leader, distinguished by our trailblazing programs and interdisciplinary approach to community building. Today we expand upon that tradition through meaningful, place-based work that animates, enlivens, and enriches Santa Cruz County, while upholding and furthering our reputation as a cultural and social innovator.
Our vision for the future is bold, inclusive, and achievable. It supports the arts, culture, and creativity but flies above and beyond to impact issues important to all of us, helping to create the kind of community one might envision for the world.
To make our vision a reality, the continued philanthropic investment of a broad community of supporters is essential.
Why Support Us?
The MAH is a community hub at the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, a symbol of how urban space can be revitalized as a thriving center where people from all walks of life congregate and commune over a shared love for the arts and humanities.
Our successes to date are many—from the transformation of Abbott Square to the huge growth in visitors we have mobilized over the last 10 years, to the groundbreaking participatory museum movement we helped to pioneer. Now we take our good work deep into the community with innovative public art, unexpected creative experiences, opportunities to learn about our collective history, and new outreach strategies, while circling back to ensure the MAH serves the needs of all community members. Suffice it to say, as much as we have accomplished, there are many great things yet on the horizon.
When you support the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, it is not a gamble. You are joining a committed professional team with a long record of success working tirelessly on behalf of the community—building on the work that came before and reenergized under new leadership— to take the MAH to new levels of engagement, collaboration, and artistic excellence.
We hope you will not only support us, but join us on the next steps of this exciting journey. Together, our potential knows no bounds.
How To Engage
Your contributions are essential to our shared success. Through membership, underwriting of special projects, sponsorship, and gifts of time and talent, you allow us to share our programs with a broad audience.
We thank all of our members, sponsors, and volunteers for your tremendous support, and look forward to working with new friends as we continue to pursue new horizons.
Membership is a great way to support and experience the MAH. Annual levels start at $60 and include admission, exhibition previews, exclusive events, discounts, and more.
There are several ways to support the MAH, with many benefits and opportunities offered to recognize and thank our donors and volunteers.
There are many ways that individuals can make a difference at the MAH. Whether you choose to participate in one of our donor circles, support a specific program, or contribute to the annual fund, your generosity enables us to maintain our collections, develop and produce exhibits, and present inspiring and educational programs.
A planned gift to the MAH is the perfect way to perpetuate your love of art and history and establish a legacy. Planned giving includes any major gift that involves financial or estate planning such as bequests or gifts of securities, retirement assets, life income plans, real estate, or personal property.
The MAH involves hundreds of volunteers each year in a variety of engaging opportunities at our museum and historic sites. Our dedicated volunteers provide support for operational tasks, lead tours, facilitate art and history experiences, and more.
There are a number of ways for businesses to get involved with the MAH, including sponsorship, corporate membership, entertaining opportunities, and matching gifts, all of which provide partners a range of benefits and access to the museum.
Foundation & Government Support
The MAH builds partnerships with foundation and government entities aimed at supporting all aspects of our programming and operations. We are proud to count leading local, state, and federal grantmaking organizations, independent foundations, and family foundations among our valued supporters and collaborators.
The MAH benefits enormously from in-kind gifts that provide non-cash support for a wide variety of needs. A member of the development team will be happy to assist you in coordinating your in-kind contribution.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Freny Cooper Chair
Jon Sisk Vice Chair Anni Lai Secretary Lacy Rieber
Treasurer Jorian Wilkins At-Large
Terry Ballantyne Brezsny Rob Blitzer Rob Darrow Frank Hayden Rebecca Hernandez Steph Jacobs Irene Juarez O’Connell Aliyah Nance George Newell Meilin Obinata
Executive Director Kevin Coullahan Director of Operations & Facilities
Marla Novo Director of Exhibitions & Programs
Director of Development & Communications
Director of Finance & Administration
Madeleine Bennett Guest Services
Representative Isabella Bradley Guest Services
Representative Jenna Clancy Membership Coordinator Jessie Durant Archives Specialist Yvonne Feistman Guest Services
Representative Sarah Fisher Guest Services
Representative Natalie Jenkins Exhibition Design & Production Manager
Abby Luciano Guest Services
Representative Laurel Maxwell Guest Services Manager
Myles Morgan Events & Volunteer Coordinator
Litzy Mozqueda-Franyutti Guest Services
Representative Everett Ó Cillín Curator & Exhibitions Manager
Rob Ojeda Systems Coordinator
Education & Outreach Manager
Contractors & Service Providers
Alrightco Accounting Services
Black Fox Philanthropy Fundraising Consultant
Karen Bush Consulting Database Support
Erica Davis Grant Writer
Virginia E. Howard Horan Lloyd, Attorney Hutchinson and Bloodgood Auditor Angela Knightley Design Support
Julie Lambert Lambert Group, HR Consultant
Dexter Martin Translator & Interpreter
Victoria May Design Support
Chris Miller Launch Brigade, IT Consultant Andrew O’Keefe
Amotion, Media Consultant
The MAH promotes cultural experiences in keeping with the beliefs, values, and ideals of the Santa Cruz County community, an effort that honors and strengthens our sense of place. In order to involve the community comprehensively in our mission and draw on the multidisciplinary strengths of our peer creative community, the MAH undertakes frequent collaborations with individuals, organizations, and businesses to offer relevant programming, services, and support. Our growing community-based alliances foster diversity, inclusion, and growth.
Here are some of the dynamic groups and individuals with whom we recently partnered.
ABBOTT SQUARE MARKET • A.D. CLARKE • AMAH MUTSUN TRIBAL BAND • ARTS COUNCIL SANTA CRUZ COUNTY • ASPEN/SNOWMASS EXPRESS TRAVEL • BLENDED BRIDGE • CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL • CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS • CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION • CALIFORNIA HUMANITIES • CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY • CELENA ALLISON, MFT • CHRISTINE FAHRENBACH, PHD • CITY OF SANTA CRUZ • COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SANTA CRUZ COUNTY • COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ • DEBRA SLOSS, MA LMFT • DIGITAL ARTS AND NEW MEDIA AT UCSC • DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION OF SANTA CRUZ • DUDEK • HARPER CHEANEY PSYCHOTHERAPY • HISTORY FORUM • HOTEL PARADOX • INDEXICAL • INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES • INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES AT UCSC • LONDON NELSON LEGACY INITIATIVE • MOTION PACIFIC DANCE • NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS • NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES • OCEAN CONSERVANCY • PAYSTAND • RESEARCHERS ANONYMOUS • SANTA CRUZ AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • SANTA CRUZ ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER COLLECTIVE • SANTA CRUZ COUNTY BANK • SUPERKARMA GAMES • SANTA CRUZ CITY ARTS • SANTA CRUZ COUNTY BLACK HEALTH MATTERS INITIATIVE • SANTA CRUZ PRIDE • SANTA CRUZ PUBLIC LIBRARIES • SENDEROS • SERENO GROUP • SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES AT UCSC • TANNERY WORLD DANCE & CULTURAL CENTER • THE DAVID AND LUCILE PACKARD FOUNDATION • THE DIVERSITY CENTER • THE HUMANITIES INSTITUTE AT UCSC • THE JAMES IRVINE FOUNDATION • TONI CROSSEN, LMFT • WILLIAM & FLORA HEWLETT FOUNDATION
PHOTO CREDITS The majority of images featured in this publication were sourced from the MAH’s portfolio and archives. Special thanks to photographers Crystal Birns, Bianca Curiel, Daris Jasper, R.R. Jones, Libby Kastle, and Orbie Pullen.
SANTA CRUZ MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY
Please contact the MAH at 831.429.1964, if you have any questions. For more information about the MAH, please visit santacruzmah.org