Orange County Museum of Art debuts its new $95-million architectural jewel at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

After years of dedication and effort by OC arts patrons and museum board members, including significant support from South Coast Plaza and its owners, the Orange County Museum of Art has completed its move to Costa Mesa. Finally! The opening of a visual arts museum on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus completes the Segerstrom family’s vision for an expansive and inclusive center of art, culture, and commerce, which has long been part of the grand design for greater South Coast Plaza.

A 24-hour grand opening celebration, attended by more than 10,000 guests who waited patiently in hours-long lines that wound around the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus, officially opened OCMA. The free event was the public’s first opportunity to tour the new, 53,000-square-foot museum designed by Morphosis Architects, under the direction of Pritzker-prize winner Thom Mayne and Partner-in-Charge Brandon Welling and explore its five inaugural exhibitions, activating the museum with music, food, films, yoga, dancing, and more.

The 24-Hour Grand Opening event culminated two weeks’ worth of events that began with the Million Dollar Donor Dinner, chaired by Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom and sponsored by Cartier. OCMA CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman welcomed guests to the first official event at the new museum. She acknowledged the generosity of lead donors, including Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, the most significant supporters of the museum to date.


A few days later the Opening Gala raised more than $2.1 million for the museum and honored artist Sanford Biggers, whose sculpture sits on the museum’s expansive outdoor plaza where the dinner was held. The gala was chaired by Jennifer Segerstrom and co-chaired by Lisa Merage, was presented by lead sponsor South Coast Plaza, and included table sponsorships by Gucci, Saint Laurent, Kering/Balenciaga/Alexander McQueen, Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, and Elizabeth Segerstrom. Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas, was one of many guests from the worlds of luxury retail, fashion, and art that are centered at South Coast Plaza.

OCMA opening gala chair Jennifer Segerstrom in Alexander McQueen and co-chair Lisa Bhathal Merage in Lanvin


Alette Segerstrom and Anton Segerstrom in Saint Laurent

Elizabeth Segerstrom in Dolce&Gabbana and Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director of OCMA

Laurent Claquin, President of Kering Americas, with Sholonda Dean in Balenciaga

Molly Downing in House of CB and Debra Gunn Downing in Badgley Mischka

Lucy Sun in Dries Van Noten and Lisa Merage in Lanvin



The opening festivities actually began last spring with a fashion event for Orange County Museum of Art trustees and donors sponsored by South Coast Plaza. For guests anticipating the Opening Gala who were wondering what the Utopian Black Tie dress suggestion meant, South Coast Plaza stylists Kim Apodaca and Jackie Rose offered an inspirational style preview at OCMAExpand, the museum’s interim location. Models descended the stairs in exquisite ensembles from Valentino, Lanvin, Thom Browne, Gucci, Monique Lhuillier, Roger Vivier, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, and Lafayette 148 New York. The stylists got creative, demonstrating how much a change in clutch or shoes can impact a look.

Additional opening celebrations for the new museum included the Artist and Artworld Party, which welcomed artists, longtime OCMA contributors and Southern California cultural leaders, as well as a Civic Dedication that inaugurated the building and brought together Orange County’s civic leaders. Anton Segerstrom spoke at all the opening galas and the civic dedication, thanking donors, the architects, and all those who helped inspire and fund the museum’s big move to Costa Mesa.

As part of the extensive and overwhelmingly positive national and local media coverage of the new museum, the Orange County Register said that “the museum’s opening means nothing less than the end of Anton Segerstrom’s 16-year personal quest to see this permanent location built in Costa Mesa, the fruition of an $8 million gift from him and his wife, Jennifer, and the fulfillment of their years of fundraising many more millions.”

“My father Henry Segerstrom told me years ago that all great civilizations have a cultural component,” Anton said in the Register story and in his remarks at the openings. “It was the impetus for the creation of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.”

Anton Segerstrom with artist Ed Ruscha

My father Henry Segerstrom told me years ago that all great civilizations have a cultural component… It was the impetus for the creation of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.


Photos by Ryan Miller, Capture Imaging