Asian Arts Council logo Asian Arts Council logo text
... of The San Diego Museum of Art


As one of the oldest support councils of The San Diego Museum of Art the Asian Arts Council (AAC) has played a significant role in the history of the Museum. It exists to foster interest in the Museum’s Asian art collection and to support curatorial efforts. Our monthly meetings feature programs by visiting scholars chosen to expand our knowledge of our rich and varied Asian collection, an exhibition, artist, medium or historical period. We have an active study group promoting in depth study on a variety of topics. Organized trips include bus trips to other Southern California museums and travel to other cities to enjoy exhibitions of Asian interest. The Asian Arts Council affords members a rich experience of Asian art and a deeper appreciation of the objects in our permanent collection. Please join us!

Email the Asian Arts Council

Art of East Asia

The Museum’s Asian Art Collection

Of the holdings of the Museum’s permanent collection, almost 50% consists of Asian objects spanning many cultures, historical periods and media. The ongoing gallery rotations from the permanent collection, coupled with periodic special exhibitions, offer a rich, stimulating and diverse visual experience for members, visitors and guests.

Art of East Asia: The Galleries

Proudly opened this year, the Art of East Asia features works from Japan, China and Korea arranged in five distinctive gallery settings.

Art of East Asia docent tours.
Click here for schedule.

banner - South Asian, Southeast Asian and Persian Art

South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Persian Art

Docent tours. Click here for schedule.

Galleries 9, 10 & 11

Reinstalled galleries open in July, 2014

Paintings from the esteemed Edwin Binney 3rd Collection are featured in Gallery 10. The South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Persian Art galleries have been updated by Curator Marika Sardar in a major reinstallation. Visit soon!

Behind the Scenes: The Museum Collections

The Museum's magic is brought forth by the brilliance of curators and staff through exhibitions, research, conservation and protecting the Museum's art works. For up-to-date details on making the newest exhibition, click here.

Behind the Museum:
Basement Entrance Closed

Back entrance to the Museum

the San Diego Zoo has embarked on a project to enhance Old Globe Way and build a parking lot for Zoo staff in the canyon behind our Museum. This project commenced mid-July 2014 and is scheduled to be finished by March 2015.The result will be a beautified, resurfaced and well-lit pedestrian pathway which will include improved drop-off for visitors and a valet drop-off for evening events in the park.

The project is being split into three phases.
1. Mid-July 2014 to August 2014: The first phase will begin with tree removal in the canyon behind the Museum.
2. September 2014 to December 2014: The second phase will involve upgrading the first half of the Old Globe Way from Village Place to the parking lot behind the Botanical building.
3. January 2015 to March 2015: The final phase will involve reconstruction of Old Globe Way from the parking lot behind the Botanical building to our loading dock area.

AAC General Meetings
& Lectures

These meetings feature distinguished speakers with expertise on a wide range of topics related to Asian art. We meet on the last Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. in the Museum Boardroom with the exception of November and December. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner in November and join us for the Heritage Luncheon and Silent Auction in December. The meetings are free for AAC members and only $10 for Museum members and $12 for non-Museum members. Students may attend for $8. For a list of dates with lectures for 2014-2015, click here. For a printable calendar of upcoming lectures, click here.


Curious about Asian Art?  Visit our membership page for the great benefits we offer. It’s only $45 for an individual membership.

Study Group

AAC members have an opportunity for in depth research on a theme chosen each year by the group. Study group meets on the third Monday of the month in the Museum’s Boardroom at 10:00 a.m. to hear presentations by its members. (January and February meetings are held on the second Mondays due to holidays, and no meeting in December). For the 2014-2015 theme and a list of topics, click here.


Members receive a subscription to the monthly Asian Arts Council newsletter. To receive a free copy, email for information.

Heritage Luncheon and Silent Auction, December 2, 2014

luncheon image, Chinese scholar's rock for auction
Scholar's Rock, Lake Tai, China. Donated by George Powell
... just one of many treasures that were found at the annual Heritage Luncheon and Silent Auction 2014

Our annual fundraising event featured an elegant lunch, fine wine, entertainment and a silent auction. The speaker, Stephen Little Ph.D., LACMA Curator and Head of the Chinese and Korean Art Department, dazzled us with his talk titled, Stones in Chinese Culture and Art. If you missed the Heritage Luncheon, you really missed a good time!


Tours / Activities
Bus Trip to the Bowers Museum
January 15, 2015

Mask with Gold from Chinese exhibition at the Bowers, ~1100 BCE Click for more information on the upcoming excursion.

Join the Asian Arts Council (AAC) for a private tour of a rare exhibit from China, China's Lost Civilization: The Mystery of Sanxingdui, which will include objects from the discovery acknowledged by many scholars as one of the greatest archaeological finds ever to be unearthed in China.

The second exhibition is Heavenly Horses: Two Thousand Years of Chinese and Japanese Equine Art.

Curator’s Web Stop

Four to six times a year, Dr. Marika Sardar presents Museum objects to the public in an ArtStop. Find detailed information about ArtStops online on the Museum calendar. Get information about past Web Stops on the Curators page.

An AAC member, Dr. Laurel Holloway, had the original idea for Curator’s Web Stops four years ago. Finally, we can all know what the Curator is researching.

Giving Back

The Asian Arts Council has played a significant role in the history of the Museum by providing funding in support of research, education and conservation. We support curatorial efforts by bringing scholars to the Museum who share their expertise with museum staff and with us at our monthly meetings. In addition to research and  education, ensuring the safety and the future of objects in the collection through conservation and restoration is a special focus of our annual membership renewal appeal and our conservation fund.  To learn more about how we do it and what we’ve done, visit the Giving Back page.

AAC Board

Courtenay McGowen, past Chair, gave the gavel to the new Chair, Jim Richter
Courtenay McGowen, past Chair, gave the gavel to the new Chair, Jim Richter, at the June, 2014 meeting and reception

Meets on the third Monday of each month, except for January and February when the Board meets on the second Monday due to the holidays. There is no meeting in December. The all-volunteer Board serves a two year term with Committee Chairs serving, hopefully, forever.  Meetings are open to members. For a list of current officers and committee chairs, click here. For more information, please contact us. To see a calendar, click the link.