Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego to host 43rd annual Monte Carlo gala in Rancho Santa Fe

Museum of Contemporary Art Director and CEO Kathryn Kanjo, Gala Co-chairs Joan Jacobs, Iris Strauss and Karen Cohn.
(McKenzie Images)

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will hold its 43rd annual Monte Carlo gala from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7. Themed “An Art Affair II,” the event will be held at the private Rancho Santa Fe home of devoted arts patrons and ARTnews top 200 art collectors Iris and Matthew Strauss. This is the second year in a row that the couple has hosted the event, and the second year for Iris Strauss, Joan Jacobs, and Karen Cohn to serve as event co-chairs. Following last year’s successful model, which broke all of the museum’s previous fundraising records, the trio is leading a committee of community philanthropists who will help execute this event.

Matt and Iris Strauss, who have been involved with the museum since 1986, said they are proud to host the gala for a second time. “We’re thrilled to host this legendary event at our home and we want it to be the most successful Monte Carlo in the museum’s history. We know what an impact it has on MCASD’s programs and exhibitions throughout the year.”

Co-chair Karen Cohn said the group hopes to raise over $1 million in support of the museum’s ambitious exhibition schedule and public programs. “This is the museum’s single largest annual fundraiser and we’re raising the bar even higher this year.”

The event will include fine dining, live entertainment, charity gambling, and dancing under the stars. The Strauss’s 21,000 square-foot estate, Rancho del Arte, is filled with hundreds of works by internationally recognized artists from the 1980s to the present, and gala attendees will have the opportunity to take curator-led tours of the collection during the event.

The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m. followed by an al fresco dinner at 8 p.m. Guests will enter through the Strauss’ art-filled gallery as they make their way to the outdoor dining room, where a large LED wall will display video art as guests enjoy dinner. Many artists whose work is included in the permanent collection will be in attendance at the event.

All funds raised at Monte Carlo will provide vital support for the museum’s operating expenses over the next year. This support is critical as MCASD is in the midst of a transformational expansion of its flagship La Jolla campus. Designed by New York City-based Selldorf Architects, the expansion will quadruple MCASD La Jolla’s current gallery space from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet, allowing the museum to continually show works from its outstanding permanent collection in addition to temporary exhibitions.

While work progresses in La Jolla, MCASD continues to offer a full schedule of programs, exhibitions, events, and outreach at its downtown location.

“MCASD is on the precipice of great transformation,” said Co-chair Joan Jacobs. “It’s an important time in the institution’s history, and that’s why the co-chairs and I felt compelled to support again in this way. We are honored to contribute to the museum’s success.”

For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please visit