OC Museum of Art Breaks Ground on New Building

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View from Argyros Plaza of OCMA’s main entrance, located near Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture, “Connector” Credit Morphosis Architects

The Orange County Museum of Art is painting a masterpiece. The canvas is a large plot of land, while the brushes are bulldozers clearing the way for a stunning new facility that will complete the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus in Costa Mesa.

The OCMA building, designed by Thom Mayne and Morphosis, had its official groundbreaking last Friday, Sept. 20, on land adjacent to Segerstrom Hall and the Argyros Plaza. Attended by nearly 200 local dignitaries, include members of the Segerstrom Family, arts and civic leaders, and the design team, the groundbreaking was years in the making.

From left: Anton Segerstrom of South Coast Plaza and OCMA; Craig Wells President of OCMA board of trustees; Annette Wiley, OCMA board of Trustees Building Committee Chair; Katrina Foley, Mayor of Costa Mesa; Thom Mayne of Morphosis; Mark Perry Chair of Segerstrom Center board; Carlos Gonzalez of Clark Construction; Todd D. Smith, Executive Director of OCMA, celebrate the groundbreaking of Orange County Museum of the Arts’ new building on the Segerstrom Center campus in Costa Mesa. Photo by Chris Trela

The Museum was a fixture in Newport Beach for more than five decades, most recently in a modest yet well-utilized facility in Newport Center. However, said OCMA Director and CEO Todd D. Smith, “we yearned for a building in the midst of it all. We have found that location. From the generous initial gift of this land from Henry Segerstrom and the Segerstrom family over a decade ago, we are here today taking our biggest steps toward out dream.”

Todd D. Smith, Executive Director of OCMA, talks to the audience at the groundbreaking

Smith told the groundbreaking audience that the museum has embarked on a $73 million capital campaign, and has already secured 65 percent of that goal.

“We are indeed well on our way,” said Smith.

OCMA trustee Anton Segerstrom, son of Segerstrom Center founding chairman Henry Segerstrom and a longtime Newport Beach resident, noted that the Segerstrom family has a long history with the museum.

“My mother Yvonne was a docent in the 1960s, and my father was the first male board member,” recalled Segerstrom. “It has been the vision of our family for a number of years to create a cultural campus in Orange County. This is the final piece of that campus. Orange County Museum of Art and Segerstrom Center for the Arts share the belief in the power of the arts to transform lives, and that shared experience and exploration of the arts unites us and creates a more culturally connected and vital community.”

Anton Segerstrom of South Coast Plaza and OCMA addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking. Photo by Chris Trela

Thom Mayne, design director of Morphosis Architects, said the project will “move at the speed of light. This will be about the public, a place to hang out and meet. You’ll find it unusual that we built a building and left 80 percent empty for a plaza. This is part of the gateway of a greater campus, it’s absolutely connected.”

Scheduled to open in 2021, the new 53,000-square-foot facility will have nearly 25,000 square feet of exhibition galleries, about 50 percent more than in the former location in Newport Beach. It will also feature an additional 10,000 square feet for education programs, performances, and public gatherings, and will include administrative offices, a gift shop, and a café.

Clark Construction Group will serve as the general contractor.

The new facility will allow the Museum to expand its artistic footprint and showcase modern and contemporary art from artists based in Southern California and the Pacific Rim.

The Museum is currently in a space at South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana dubbed OCMAExpand. The Museum opened six new exhibitions last weekend that showcases artists from the Pacific Rim. The exhibitions will be on view through March 15, 2020.

For more information, visit ocmaexpand.org.

View of the grand outdoor stair joining the museum to Argyros Plaza, Credit Morphosis Architects
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