The New Orange County Museum Building Celebrates its Official Opening

Relocated from Newport Beach, the new digs feature exhibition and educational spaces, a theater, a special event terrace and a cafe
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With an official ribbon cutting and gala opening last weekend in Costa Mesa, the new Orange County Museum of Art building welcomed donors, artists, collectors and curators gathering to celebrate the 53,000 square-foot spectacularly modern building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and Morphosis with the Art Sense Gala. On hand were Los Angeles-based artists Doug Aitken and Alexandra Grant, as well as major donors. And some major luxury brands hosted tables as well: representatives from Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent were all on hand.

(Orange County Museum)

The gala honored artist Sanford Biggers as well its new building with its sparkling tile façade, exhibition spaces, an educational space, a theater, a bookstore, a terrace for special events and a café on the second floor that can seat 75.

In a statement by Thom Mayne, the architect described the all new OCMA design (it was housed for 60 years in Newport Beach) as “a new model for museums based on public, urban, communal spaces with strong connections between interior and exterior. Engaging the urban realm with a public stair and ‘storefront’ galleries, the design invites visitors through sunlit atrium spaces, open galleries and an expansive sculpture terrace. The strong relationship in the building between indoor and outdoor space will encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the celebrated climate of Southern California, where light, air, and space have influenced generations of artists.”

(Orange County Museum)

Another reason for the new space: it’s much more convenient to art lovers all across Southern California.

(Orange County Museum)

The museum is part of the almost three thousand seat Segerstrom Center Theater, which was the vision of the developer of super mall South Coast Plaza, Henry Segerstrom. It’s been home to Broadway musicals, dance companies and more since 1986, and has two small accompanying theaters in the complex. Segerstrom was a big believer in supporting public arts programs.

(Orange County Museum)

The OCMA will open its doors to the public for the first time this weekend (October 8 and 9) with a 24 hour party that’s free, and includes music and dancing, for anyone who drops in temporarily—or those who stay up for the entire shebang. Friday at 5 p.m. will start the festivities with a celebratory drumline procession down Avenue of the Arts, then move on with tours of the museum, the rooftop dance party with deejay Jason Bentley, fireworks, art making, a movie program, a silent disco and sunrise yoga. Let’s hope there’s coffee served at the end of all that.

(Orange County Museum)

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