Back in 2002, the Museum of Contemporary Art was looking for a way to get new visitors out to the museum's downtown location while also appealing to its regular patrons. The first Thursday Night Thing (TNT) was held in August of that year and, since then, the triannual night has become one of the museum's more popular events with younger crowds and established members mingling over cocktails, art activities and live music.
But according to MCASD Communications and Marketing Manager Leah Straub, the July TNT was the museum's last one. Rather than publicizing this fact and letting the event go out with a bang (pun intended), Straub says MCASD simply felt the event had run its course and wanted to come up with new and exciting ways to get people out.
"Every couple of years our programming shifts a bit and right now we're looking at how to offer more access on a regular basis," says Straub via email. She acknowledges that while TNT was a popular event, it didn't really encourage people to come out beyond the night it was held and that the museum was much more interested in "having people visit consistently throughout the exhibition as opposed to focusing our efforts on three big nights per year."
One of these offerings will be a monthly event called Downtown at Sundown. Starting Thursday, Nov. 19, and to be held every third Thursday thereafter from 5 to 8 p.m. The Sundown event is similar to TNT in that it will include gallery tours and live performances, but it will also see MCASD partnering with neighboring businesses to create more of a community-wide art event. Places like Stone Brewing and The Flight Path Bistro will offer drink and app specials during the evening and the SDSU Downtown Gallery, which is a block away from MCASD, will also be open in the evening. What's more, much like MCASD-La Jolla's monthly Shore Thing event, the Sundown night will include free admission to the museum, whereas TNT was a ticketed event. There's even a pop-up book truck and a monthly book club that will meet in MCASD's readingROOM.
"We're grateful for everyone who supported TNT over the years," says MCASD's Deputy Director of Art and Programs, Kathryn Kanjo. "And we'll look forward to welcoming them on a more regular basis to a lively downtown district."