The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is a rich and diverse center for modern and contemporary art, based in Newport Beach, California. Its mission is to enrich the lives of the community through contemporary and modern art; a mission it delivers to tens of thousands of visitors annually.

The collections and exhibitions presented at the Museum highlight California artists, while also celebrating national and international artists as well. With more than 3,000 works of art in the permanent collection showcasing a variety of mediums, there is a plethora of work to see and experience. Located between freeway 73 and historic highway 1, the Orange County Museum of Art is a short drive from the beach, the Newport Center and other Orange County attractions.



The Orange County of Museum of Art was born from the work of 13 women with a vision and passion for art. Opening in 1962, the gallery emphasized modern and contemporary work, particularly of the early twentieth century. The organization grew through the years, and was moved to a larger location in 1972, having been renamed the Newport Harbor Museum.

As community support increased along with the size of the collection, the Museum was moved again, reaching its current home on San Clemente Drive in 1977. A significant remodel twenty years later resulted in a refreshed space and a new name: The Orange County Museum of Art. The Museum has become a significant institution in the Orange County art space, drawing recognition for its exhibitions, collections and educational programs. With more than half a century bringing art to its community, the Museum has celebrated, showcased and shaped California Art in the twentieth century.


The permanent collection at the Museum has evolved and changed as much as the space in which it is housed. Comprised of anassortment of mediums including film, paint, drawing, digital, sculpture, printmaking, photography and installation pieces, the collection represents the varied nature of art and artists. The most significant holdings of the collection represent California artists of the early and mid-century modernist movements.

Such artists include Robert Irwin, Catherine Opie, Vija Celmins and many more. International artists featured in the permanent collection include Lorna Simpson, Lee Bul, Katy Grannan and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, among others. In order to promote greater appreciation and interest in the works in the collection, a Collection Blog is featured on the Museum's website. The Chief Curator searches the collection for a specific work or artist to examine. These interesting and informational insights provide greater understanding of art and the museum's collection as a whole. Art enthusiasts can also see the Pick of the Month, on the website, highlighting a specific artist or piece.

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The changing exhibitions at the Orange County Museum of Art are a highlight of a trip and one of the strengths of the organization. Critically acclaimed exhibits such as Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, attract more than 40,000 visitors to the Museum each year.

Organizing exhibitions that are not only locally relevant but internationally significant, as well, the Museum has been a leader in the art space. This includes regional surveys that began with art only in California, but that has grown and expanded to include art of the Pacific Rim. The impact of the Museum expands beyond the borders of California, with more than 30 of its exhibitions going on tour throughout the U.S. and Europe.


Cultivating art in the community is about more than just collections and exhibitions. The Museum strives to draw people in through an array of events and programs designed to engage the public with the art in a variety of different ways.Cinema Orange, for example, is a partnership with the Newport Beach Film Festival, which showcases monthly movie screenings, often featuring independent films.

OCMA also creates and presents interesting evenings that incorporate art and food with conversations from artists and curators, creating a complete evening of culture. The Museum periodically offers free days, creating opportunities for everyone to participate in art and enjoy the exhibitions at the Museum. Other events have included trivia evenings, live performances, the annual fundraising gala, and more.


Education is a significant part of the work of the Orange County Museum of Art. The Museum's school tours draw more than 15,000 students of all ages each year to view the Museum's collections and exhibitions. Of these, nearly 6,500 are students from the Orange County School District. In order to make the art of the institution available to all, the Museum provides free admission and transportation to schools that would not otherwise be able to afford to visit, demonstrating the Museum's commitment to art education for all.

Offering tours and visits specifically targeted to different age groups, from elementary school children through to adults, the tours often include video screenings, art activities, in addition to guided tours and art conversations. Tours can be docent led, self-guided or custom created in order to maximize a visit to the museum.

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3.Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit  

The Orange County Museum of Art is easily accessible by bus, train or freeways, with parking available onsite. For those visitors eager to be inspired by their visit and bring a sketch pad with them, the Museum permits only pencils for sketching in the galleries. The Museum is nearby to restaurants, caf├ęs, and local shopping centers.

The shop at the Museum features gifts, books and prints to bring a bit of the art home. Offerings from the shop are also available online, for those looking to make additional purchases after they have returned home. As Museum hours vary, guests are recommended to check the OCMA website prior to arrival. The events calendar listed on the site will enable visitors to make the most of their visit by incorporating one of the interesting and intriguing events. With so much to offer and entertain, the Orange County Museum of Art is an engaging and entertaining experience.

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850 San Clemente Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, Phone: 949 759-1122

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Things to Do in Newport Beach: Orange County Museum of Art