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Orange County Museum Of Art

The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) focuses on modern art and contemporary art from California and the Pacific Rim. Founded in 1962, the museum has an impressive history from its earliest roots as the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, all the way to the brand new 53,000 square foot facility built at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa.

A Brief History Of The Orange County Museum Of Art

In 1962, 13 women rented space in the Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach. They wanted to display modern and contemporary art (yes, in the art world there is a difference between the two).

This effort grew into the Newport Harbor Art Museum which became active in 1968; by 1972 the museum would relocate to San Clemente Drive and would rebrand itself the Orange County Museum of Art, but not until the 1990s.

On the way to becoming the OCMA, the museum started the California Biennial, with an emphasis on emerging California artists. The show would become a triennial in 2013 and as such became known for offering the first “ongoing” western exhibition dedicated to contemporary art from the Pacific Rim.

Orange County Museum Of Art

Orange County Museum Of Art Admission

Admission is free and no tickets or reservations are required. Admission will remain free for 10 years starting in 2022 thanks to a $2.5 million grant from Newport Beach-based Lugano Diamonds.


3333 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Tower Plaza Parking Structure, 600 Anton Boulevard
Irvine Parking, 3201 Avenue of the Arts
The MET Parking, 535 Anton Boulevard

Parking is offered by private garages; the Segerstrom Center does not operate any of the parking garages in the area. If you plan to attend OCMA during a performance day at one of the other venues on the campus, it may be wise to give yourself some extra time to find parking and navigate traffic on a busy day at the Segerstrom Center.

OCMA Takes A Big Leap Forward: Grand Opening

In 2018, OCMA revealed plans for an ambitious expansion–roughly double the facility’s size. The new Orange County Museum of Art would be built as part of the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa.

The new museum was designed to offer some 25,000 square feet of exhibition galleries, housed in a 52,000 square-foot facility. OCMA opened a temporary space at South Coast Village in 2018, its temporary home until the grand opening of the new facility at the Segerstrom Center.

A 24-hour public opening celebration took place on Saturday October 8, 2022. For the entire day, the museum remained open and featured music, food, films, yoga, dancing, and more.

The facility itself is connected to the larger Segerstrom Center for the Arts; visitors can experience both the OCMA as well as the other destinations on the five-acre campus at the center including:

  • Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
  • Samueli Theater
  • The Judy Morr Theater
  • Studio Performance Space
  • Boeing Education Lab

Things To Do At The Orange County Museum Of Art

In addition to seeing limited-event exhibits and the permanent collection, OCMA offers many options for artist talks, lecture series-type events, film and video presentations, collaborative art projects, and installation art. There are also “pop-up” events and the ability to contact the museum to host your own event there.

Current OCMA Exhibitions

  • Jennifer Guidi: And so it is.
  • Tony Lewis: CASUAL T
  • Alice Neel: Feels Like Home
  • Start, Start Again
  • Color Is The First Revelation Of The World (2024)

Past OCMA Exhibitions

  • California Biennial
  • California-Pacific Triennial
  • “The Collection at 50”
  • New Art For A New Century
  • State of Mind: New California Art
  • The Avant-Garde Collection
  • A revival of the “California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold”
  • “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World)”
  • “Peter Walker: Minimalist Landscape”
  • A newly commissioned outdoor sculpture by Sanford Biggers
  • “13 Women” – An homage to the women who founded the museum 60 years ago

Artists in the OCMA Collection

  • John Baldessari
  • Elmer Bischoff
  • Jessica Bronson
  • Chris Burden
  • Vija Celmins
  • Bruce Conner
  • Richard Diebenkorn
  • Robert Irwin
  • Helen Lundeberg
  • Stanton Macdonald-Wright
  • John McCracken
  • John McLaughlin
  • Catherine Opie
  • Alan Rath
  • Charles Ray
  • Edward Ruscha
  • Bill Viola
  • Daniela Rossell
  • Lorna Simpson

Check out all the free museum days in Southern California and how to get free and discounted museum admission.

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Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, USA Today, The Pentagon Channel, plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.