Museum of Contemporary Art and Design – Costa Rica

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If you have an extra half-day in San Jose or are especially interested in art, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in the capital city is an attraction you should plan on visiting. This museum has many exhibits to visit and is very close the center of town and the walking street on Avenida Central. Visitors can explore the facilities through guided tours, conferences and just by walking around.

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The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design opened to the public in 1994. The museum is located on the premises of the Former National Liquor Factory, a building of great architectural and patrimonial importance. The installations went through a radical renovation in the early 1990s to accommodate the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. The museum shares the space with the National Cultural Center or CENAC, as it is known locally. There are 5 currently exhibition halls for permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as auditorium and an outdoor space.

One of the permanent collections within the museum includes more than 900 works from national and international artists of all ages. Some of the mediums showcased include etches, paintings, sculptures, photography and video art. Other displays can include all of these mediums with the most recent and dynamic trends in the art and design style from Central America, Latin America and other international area. The outdoor space is another showcase area and has multiple uses. Live performances and music shows are common here as well as installations of large noteworthy sculptures. The museum welcomes art competitions, video creation shows and digital arts, serving as a way for local emerging artists to get noticed.

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The museum also houses a large video library and documentation center open to the public. If you are interested in the local culture, you will most likely never want to leave. Here visitors can consult numerous audiovisual materials from Costa Rica and abroad. Some of the pieces you can find here include documents, performances, video presentations, catalogs, art & design books and much more.

Recently the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design chose a thought-provoking title “The Day We Became Contemporary” as the name of the exhibit to celebrate its 20-year anniversary. The exhibit asks visitors to define contemporary art and reflect on what people who come to the museum have learned or been challenged to think about during the museum’s 20 years in existence.

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Whether you want to spend all day or just a half-day at the museum, seeing the art is very much worth your time. You can check the local newspaper or the museum’s website and social media pages for information about upcoming events. If you are in the area but don’t have much time, feel free to stop by for an afternoon coffee and snack. The coffee shop has some of the local delicacies, souvenirs and of course Costa Rican coffee.

When you leave the museum, you are right in the heart of San Jose near Avenida central. This puts you within walking distance of many other great attractions including the National Theature, the Gold Museum, the Simon Bolivar Zoo, the historical histric in Barrio Amon and some great city parks like Parque Espana and Parque Morazan….

and plenty of nightlife.

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