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Efforts Help Preserve and Present the ‘Art of the People’

Even after many years in San Diego, there are things I learn about some of the city’s most beloved places that amaze me. Recently, I read that Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park, and indeed, it is. New York City’s Central Park is 1.3 square miles and Balboa Park is 1.8 square miles. Another difference is that it never snows in Balboa Park as far as I know.

Nestled among the 17 other museums in Balboa Park is the Mingei International Museum. Located on the west end on the Plaza de Panama, the Mingei is worth a visit. Founded in 1996 by San Diego State University professor of art, Martha Longenecker, the Mingei means the “art of the people.” During her 35-year tenure at SDSU, Longenecker often studied in Japan, which gave her the opportunity to work directly with some of Japan’s most well renowned art historians and aestheticians. As a result of her contribution to transcultural artistic understanding, Longenecker was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, in 2003. Longenecker personally oversaw the architectural design and build-out of the 41,000 square-foot museum facility on the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park (opened in August 1996), and the installation of its inaugural exhibitions.

Recently the 2014 Mingei Fusion fundraiser at the museum drew 225 attendees and raised $55,000. The money will go directly to the museum’s efforts to preserve and exhibit folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures of the world. The museum has more than 26,000 objects of folk art, craft and design from 141 countries. For more information visit mingei.org/visit.

In other news, the upcoming Memorial Golf Classic that supports cancer research in honor of Brian Schultz will be held Aug. 2. This is the 19th annual Golf Classic, which has raised nearly $1 million to benefit research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Schultz, who was an avid golfer, lost a sudden and brief battle with cancer at the age of 27. The event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and will feature a golf tournament, an awards banquet, family-friendly activities, live entertainment and more. To register visit http://bit.ly/1tGIBKp.

The Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund recently announced its 2014 grants totaling $258,000 for 10 nonprofit organizations meeting needs in San Diego County.

The recipient organizations represent some of the best work being done throughout San Diego County in two focus areas: education/economic development, and social services. The grant recipients received grants ranging from $15,000 to $35,000.

During a nine-month evaluation period for each year’s grant cycle, the grants committee of the Women’s Fund considers grants that respond to an urgent and critical need, support a bold new venture, or provide a new approach to an ongoing problem. The Women’s Fund has more than 120 members, and all the members are involved in voting for the finalist organizations.

The Women’s Fund is a donor advised fund of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation. Since the Women’s Fund was founded in 2004, the group has granted more than $2.2 million dollars to nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego County. The Women’s Fund is planning a celebration of its 10th anniversary in November of this year. To see a list of the 2014 grant recipients visit http://bit.ly/WG8iAc.

Send Kudos/Giving items to sglidden@sdbj.com.

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