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Costa Mesa’s new $94.5m Art Museum reaffirms its claim as the City of the Arts

OCMA fulfils the vision of Henry Segerstrom, decades in the making 

Costa Mesa officially opened its new state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) on Oct. 8 with much fanfare. A drumline proceeded down The Avenue of the Arts. It was a day of music, dancing, film, food, art-making projects, fireworks, yoga and other fare for the enjoyment of the public, in a celebration that lasted 24-hours.

The 53,000 sq-foot space with 25,000 sq-feet dedicated to the exhibition of modern and contemporary art, was designed by Morphosis Architects withThom Mayne and Brandon Welling at the helm of the Culver City firm. Welling, who has been the boots on the ground from the start of the project stated, “It’s been a great process. This is our first art museum to be completed, which is really meaningful to everybody, and to Thom and I especially.” 

The museum will be the permanent  home to the 4,500 art pieces in its collection, with five inaugural collections.

The museum has had many name changes since its inception in 1962 when it was then  known as the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, but it was always envisioned as part of the Segerstrom Center facility. The late Henry Segerstrom had hoped a visual art museum 

would complete the bigger picture of an arts and culture space. 

In addition to its exhibition space, the new museum provides a lot of outdoor space, an education pavilion, a rooftop Upper Plaza, a gift shop, cafe, coffee shop, and administrative offices. Heidi Zuckerman is the museum’s CEO and director. Thanks to a grant from Lugano Diamonds, entrance to OCMA is free to the public for ten years. 

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