Lux’s vision is to act as San Diego County’s primary source for educating the public about the creative process, from conceptual development through the act of making.
Lux Art Institute is redefining the museum experience to make art more accessible and personally meaningful.
At Lux, you don’t just see finished works of art; you see the artistic process firsthand, observing internationally recognized artists in a working studio environment. Lux education programs support community in developing a creative voice through exploration, experimentation, and discovery.
As part of this mission, Lux works to:
Support emerging and established artists in the development of new projects through a seasonal residency program.
Exhibit finished works from Lux residencies alongside the artist’s other works.
Engage the community to foster an appreciation of the living artist and creative process.
Encourage creative and critical thinking through inquiry, reflection, and discussion of contemporary art practices.
Implement a project-based learning method with the philosophy that the process is as significant as the final artwork.
Nurture interdisciplinary learning by integrating new media and common core principles into our onsite and outreach programs.
In 1998, a group of San Diego area art patrons and philanthropists joined with Reesey Shaw, the founding Director of the California Center for the Arts Museum, to discuss how they might encourage a better understanding of visual art in the San Diego community. They agreed that what was needed was something more than a typical museum; they envisioned a place where visitors would be directly exposed to the artistic process in a way that immediately engaged viewers and demystified visual art.
The vision began to take shape when Ramona Sahm joined the board as president and donated one million dollars in seed money. The founders named the new endeavor Lux, Latin for “light,” and began working to build a facility that would bring national and international artists to Southern California to realize commissioned works on site and in the public eye.
After choosing a scenic setting in coastal Encinitas as the home for Lux, the founders learned that the site was once named Lux Canyon, after the Lux family who had settled the area at the turn of the nineteenth century. They knew it was meant to be.
Even as Lux worked to build its permanent facility, the institute’s vision began to take shape as a “museum without walls.” A series of permanent installations around the Lux grounds offered visitors a sense of the uncommon experience to come. In 2000, Lux began its educational outreach initiative with the Valise Project, which continues today.
In 2007, the institute’s first permanent structure, the Artist Pavilion, opened to the public and welcomed its first artist-in-residence. The Educational Pavilion followed in 2014, giving a permanent home to Lux educational programs and exhibits by established local artists. Today, Lux is a destination for San Diego County, a place where visitors find creativity at work and creativity within themselves.
Reesey Shaw is the founding Director of Lux Art Institute, an art organization whose vision is to make visual art more accessible and personally meaningful by providing access to living artists as they create new works and developing project‐based education programs that promote exploration, experimentation and discovery.
A graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, Shaw received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Art. She began her career as an artist and art historian, lecturing at Claremont Graduate University, University of California, San Diego and Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Upon moving to La Jolla, California in the 1970s, Shaw exhibited at galleries and museums locally, as well as in Los Angeles and New York. In the mid‐‘80s her personal work evolved to include curatorial and administrative ideas that she cultivated as head of the gallery for the Felicita Foundation. In 1994, Ms. Shaw became the founding Director of the California Center for the Arts Museum, where she first presented artists with the opportunity to create works on site.
That idea has found full expression at Lux Art Institute, where thanks to the support of local art patrons and philanthropists, Ms. Shaw assumed the position of founding Director in 1998. Under Shaw’s leadership, Lux has evolved from an innovative vision to a full‐blown reality. Lux’s first permanent facility, the Artist Pavilion, opened in 2007, offering artists from all over the world a place to live and work. The Education Pavilion, a 7,000‐square‐foot building with four classrooms, an artist’s workshop, digital lab and administrative offices, was completed in 2014.
This distinct institution was established in response to a need both for accessible contemporary art and for a visual arts cultural and educational presence in San Diego’s vibrant North County. The Lux grounds ‐ the Artist Pavilion, Education Pavilion and gardens – together have established a creative, inviting space where art lives and changes lives.
A place to create, experience, and live art, Lux Art Institute includes two separate buildings.
The Lux Artist Pavilion combines residence, studio, administrative and exhibition areas, offering resident artists a flexible space for creation during their stay and allowing visitors to see artists at work in the studio. Designed by architect Renzo Zecchetto, the Artist Pavilion incorporates a variety of water and energy saving strategies to reduce its impact on the local environment, and was the first art museum in California awarded LEED certification for new construction. The Artist Pavilion also received a Grand Orchid award in 2008 from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.
The Education Pavilion, designed by architect and former Lux board member Anne Sneed, provides a vibrant space for creativity, education and community that serves all of San Diego County. The 7,000-square-foot building features four large classrooms, one big enough to hold 100 people for conferences, lectures and film screenings, as well as an artist’s workshop, digital lounge and administrative offices.
Lux Art Institute is located on a four-acre parcel overlooking the San Elijo Lagoon, a stunning backdrop for artistic exploration and appreciation. The buildings are surrounded by a wildlife preserve which stretches two miles to the Pacific Ocean and hosts a number of commissioned on-site installations for visitors to explore.
Lux is committed to maintaining the native habitat at the campus. The native plants in the spacious one-acre gardens, landscaped by Schmidt Design Group, require approximately fifty percent less water than traditional garden plants, and the bioswale reduces surface runoff. The gardens, which include hardwood bridges and a tiered amphitheater, are open to Lux visitors and are available to the community for events, concerts and outdoor classes.
The Lux Board of Directors includes a wide range of San Diego art patrons and philanthropists with a variety of expertise and backgrounds, all committed to the Lux vision of redefining the museum experience to make visual art more accessible and personally meaningful. Their leadership and collaboration makes possible the unique artist residency and expansive educational programs that define the institute. The dedication of Lux Board Members also ensures the ongoing development of Lux Art Institute as a vibrant cultural center for San Diego County and beyond.
Lux Art Institute's Board of Directors
Community Engagement Associate
Event & Facility Rental Coordinator
Visitor Services Representative
Visitor Services Representative
Thank you for your interest in Lux Art Institute. See below to learn more about available job and internship opportunities.Lux seeks qualified and creative candidates whose talents will support the institute’s mission and long‐term goals.
Equal opportunity employer: Lux Art Institute provides all persons with equal employment practices and opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran or marital status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
To apply: Qualified candidates please send resume, cover letter to email@example.com. Please indicate “” in the subject. No phone calls, please.
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