From Kimberly Verkerov, San Francisco Chronicle Reporter
We’re pleased to announce that the Mexican Museum is officially going to settle permanently into a much roomier Yerba Buena arts district home. But it took supporters over four decades to clear legal hurdles and raise over $63 million over the past three years.
In a dedication ceremony held on July 19th in Jessie Square at 706 Mission Street, local officials and Mexican dignitaries marked the occasion with a celebration for the museum, which houses America’s largest collection of Latino art.
The new Mexican Museum will eventually open in 2019 on the first four floors across 60,000 square feet of a 510-foot-tall luxury condo tower next to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the historic St. Patrick Church. The current location of the museum in Fort Mason is about eight times smaller than the proposed site.
Andy Kluger, the museum’s chairman, addresses several hundred people in attendance. He proclaimed, “We’re establishing now a cultural institution of major proportion that will be for the Mexican community, the Chicano community, the Latin American community as a whole.”
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, added, “At a time when too many angry and loud voices are talking about building 50-foot-high walls, you are building an edifice to civilization and our common humanity.”
Other speakers included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Mexican Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu who discussed the importance of preserving Latino art and artifacts for future generations, and about strengthening the relationship between the United States and its southern neighbor.
The museum’s designer is Enrique Norten, who is a Mexico City native. He said that the space will have a contemporary design and feel. He said, “Obviously I am Mexican, so I bring with me all sorts of tonalities that will resonate and differentiate this work from other works in the city. I’m just hoping that it will really become the home of Mexicans away from home.”