O.C. Museum of Art Opens Saturday

A bonanza of activities will lure residents to the 24-hour celebration.
The Orange County Museum of Art has a gallery with windows that face Avenue of the Arts. Photograph by Mike Kelley

Fireworks and yoga; tarot readings and movies; silent disco and a sound bath; singers, dancers, and musicians performing throughout the day and night. All this and more will happen in one place this weekend at the opening celebration for Orange County Museum of Art. And no tickets or reservations are necessary.

The 53,000-square-foot building opens to the public Saturday at 5 p.m. with a free 24-hour bonanza, and museum leaders are making sure there’s plenty to engage your spirits. “We welcome all to our new home,” says Heidi Zuckerman, the museum’s director and CEO. “We believe access to art is a basic human right, and so our new building beckons the many communities of Orange County and beyond to come and explore and make art a part of their lives.”

With events, performances, and food scheduled for nearly every hour from 5 p.m. Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday (lineup ocma.art), the museum will lure guests into its new space and offer them a chance to see pieces from the 4,500-work permanent collection as well as new art in five special exhibits.

The entrance to the Orange County Museum of Art will welcome visitors from Argyros Plaza. Photograph by Mike Kelley

In addition to the art, the lure of the museum is also the building itself, which was designed to serve as a gathering space. “We’re part of city making,” says Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, the principal at Morphosis. “We left three-quarters of the site for a piazza for community engagement and making relationships.”

Those relationships include people well known to longtime O.C. residents. Landscape designer Peter Walker, who began collaborating with the Segerstrom family in the 1970s, is honored in one of the opening exhibits. Verdant, the museum’s plant-forward cafe, is led by the impressive team at Populaire: executive chefs Ross Pangilinan and Nick Weber with general manager Alyssa McDiarmid. Just outside Verdant you’ll find The Sweet James Bergener Bar where the perfect Old-Fashioned awaits you.

The museum’s opening completes the early vision of the Segerstrom family and brings together many facets of art at the campus for Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This weekend, for instance, the area will be bustling with arts patrons at the museum, Broadway lovers at “Hamilton,” classical music devotees at the Samueli Theater, and theatergoers at “Nina Simone: Four Women” at South Coast Repertory.

Artist Sanford Biggers—whose large outdoor multimedia sculpture “Of Many Waters …” was commissioned for the museum’s opening—offers what might be the best reason of all to visit the museum: “Art matters because the rest of the world makes no sense at all.”

Read more!

OCMA’s New Home, to learn about the latest addition to Costa Mesa’s arts hub.

Main Course: Populaire Modern Bistro, for a review of the restaurant, whose team also leads OCMA’s plant-forward cafe.

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