Muzeo, the downtown Anaheim exhibition hall that opened four years ago aiming to establish that culture could join theme parks on visitors’ itineraries, has appointed John A. Scola as its new executive director.
Scola is a veteran fundraising executive for nonprofit organizations. He was president of the Orange Catholic Foundation, the fundraising wing of the Diocese of Orange, from 2006 to 2009, then started a consultancy. The Mission Viejo resident began his new job this week, succeeding Peter Comiskey, Muzeo’s first executive director.
Comiskey said in a statement that he had been dividing his time between Muzeo and as manager of the Downtown Anaheim Assn., a nonprofit group that promotes the area, which is about two miles from Disneyland, as an aspiring urban hub. He said Muzeo has reached the stage where it needs “the full-time attention of a full-time executive director.”
Muzeo doesn’t have a collection; its eclectic mission is to bring in touring exhibits ranging through art, history and science. The two current shows deal with the Victorian era -- “The Queen’s Gallery: Art from the Collection of Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl,” and “Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination.”
Muzeo’s 2010-11 federal nonprofit tax return shows that during its first four years it nearly managed to break even, while bringing in average annual revenues of about $1 million -- most of it from memberships and contributions rather than the single admissions that would reflect a booming trade from tourist walk-ins.
In the overall O.C. exhibitions scheme, the Discovery Science Center and Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach and Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach (which also named a new director this month) are the top four, with yearly expenses of about $9 million, $5 million, $3.5 million and $1.5 million, respectively. Muzeo and the Irvine Museum in Irvine follow at about the $1 million mark.
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-- Mike Boehm
Photos: Muzeo exhibition hall in Anaheim; John Scola, new executive director of Muzeo in Anaheim. Credits: Muzeo