About the Learning Institute


The Balboa Park Learning Institute is a professional education program and learning community for staff and volunteers in arts, science, and cultural institutions. It was launched by the 27 member institutions of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership in 2008 as part of collaborative efforts to achieve greater organizational efficiency, innovation, and excellence.

We believe that a strengthened professional community will enrich the experience and value of arts, science, and culture for our audiences and communities.

The Learning Institute empowers individuals and organizations with specialized continuing education opportunities that build community, advance professional practices, and encourage new thinking. Year-round offerings range from “behind-the-scenes” workshop series to the signature Smith Leadership Symposium. Areas of study include leadership, audience experience, evaluation, sustainability and other topics related to the cultural sector.

A key element of the Learning Institute is an emphasis on shared, applied, and reflective practice.

Balboa Park is an ideal place to serve as a professional “learning laboratory,” given the number, diversity and geographic proximity of its resident cultural institutions.

Our approach is to surface, share, and complement the expertise and resources of Balboa Park.

Partnership member institutions are the primary audience of the Learning Institute. However, many offerings are open to individuals from cultural organizations outside of Balboa Park. Whenever possible, the Learning Institute partners with related local and national groups/organizations to leverage high quality learning resources.

The Learning Institute is continually seeking ways to make learning more efficient and accessible in Balboa Park. In Fall of 2015, the Learning Institute launched the Online Learning Portal as a way to overcome common barriers to learning such as location, time, and frequency. This system will allow the Learning Institute to continue it’s practice of empowering Park team members and establishing Balboa Park as a learning laboratory for arts and culture organizations.

The Balboa Park Learning Institute is supported by Balboa Park Cultural Partnership member institutions and program tuition. Additional support has been provided by The City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, Bank of America, and the Robert F. Smith, Jr. Leadership Symposium Endowment.