The Orange County Museum of Art turns 60 with a new site and a decade of free admission

The Orange County Museum of Art – the latest in a longstanding vision of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa as a cultural epicenter – will soon welcome the public to its permanent home in a way more unusual.

A 24-hour opening celebration for the new museum begins October 8 at 5 p.m. with a drumming procession down Arts Avenue that heads to a rooftop terrace, where a fireworks display awaits.

This will be followed by a lineup of tours and live performances, a rooftop dance party, silent disco with headphones, movies for insomniacs, tarot readings, aura photography and sunrise yoga.

“It starts at 5 p.m. and will literally go on non-stop until 5 p.m. on Sunday evening,” OCMA Director and CEO Heidi Zuckerman said Wednesday during a media preview of the 93-meter complex. million dollars and its inaugural exhibitions.

“I hope we will surprise you. I hope you’ll discover artists you’ve never seen before, and I hope you’ll see some unexpectedly familiar artists.

OCMA CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman speaks during a media preview of the museum’s new home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on Wednesday.

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

The 53,000 square foot space features reconfigurable galleries that will host temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as selections from the museum’s 4,500-piece permanent collection.

OCMA Chief Curator Courtenay Finn called it the first in the museum’s 60-year history.

“We’re able to take works out of storage and tell stories around them and really showcase the breadth and depth of the collection, which the museum hasn’t been able to do before,” said she declared.

Just as important as the interior galleries are several spaces outside the new structure, designed by Culver City-based architectural firm Morphosis under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and managing partner Brandon Welling.

A visitor takes a photo of an outdoor sculpture

A visitor takes a photo Wednesday of an outdoor sculpture “Many Waters…” on the upper terrace of the new Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

The expansive rooftop terrace, along with an educational pavilion, cafe, and museum shop are positioned to foster a relationship between the interior spaces and the exterior.

Mayne said it took a decade of working with museum officials to develop a vision that served not only as a showcase for art, but also as a public plaza that would expand the museum’s audience by serving as a connective tissue in the community.

“We got involved early on not in constructing a building, another shiny object, but in constructing a public space,” he said. “We thought it would be nice to make a place in Orange County. This community is now ready for this kind of public space.

Attendees of Wednesday’s preview wandered the expansive galleries and enjoyed guided tours filled with notes and architectural observations.

Among the five inaugural exhibits featured is “California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold,” a survey of contemporary art by acclaimed and emerging artists from across the state that began in 1984 and was revived for the reopening with 60 works, some of which were created specifically for the new space.

“Supernova, 2000” by Lee Bul, of Yeongju-si, South Korea, is part of the “13 Women” exhibit at the new Orange County Museum of Art.

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

“13 Women” marks the museum’s diamond anniversary by honoring the original founders of the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, the OCMA’s predecessor, with works created by 13 pioneering women artists who reflect the qualities of the museum’s founders.

“Of many waters…”, an outdoor multimedia sculpture created by New York artist and Los Angeles native Sanford Biggers, is the visual centerpiece of the building’s terrace. Measuring 16 feet tall and 24 feet wide and covered in metallic glitter, the figure evokes the spiritual gods of the river and serves as a blessing for the opening of the building.

Zuckerman said the piece, on display until August 13, 2023, marks the space as a place where people can gather, encounter art and have conversations.

“If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s how much we need the experience of common spaces, where new connections can be made and unexpected conversations can take place,” he said. she stated. “This is where the sparks of creativity fly.”

A close up of the sculpture

A close-up of the “Many Waters…” sculpture by artist Sanford Biggers at the new Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

Officials shared their desire for the new space to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Lugano Diamonds of Newport Beach, whose owners have donated $2.5 million to enable the OCMA to offer free admission on opening night and for the next 10 years, contributes to this vision.

“There is no economic barrier to experiencing our exhibits and programs,” Zuckerman said.

In his remarks Wednesday, OCMA Administrator Anton Segerstrom explained how his father, Henry Segerstrom, who turned acres of Orange County lima bean fields into a hub of commercial activity and cultural, believed in the power of the arts to uplift communities.

“For me, personally, this day has a special meaning. It is the realization of a dream of our family and the culmination of 16 years of personal work,” he said. “This is a great day for Orange County.”

A visitor takes photos Wednesday above the main entrance to the new Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.

A visitor takes photos Wednesday above the main entrance to the new Orange County Museum of Art during a media preview of the new space at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

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