Exhibitions

Please note: The City of Irvine continues to follow state and local health and safety guidelines. Our community centers and indoor facilities are open for drop-in use. Outdoor recreational spaces including parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields and courts are open. Recreational programming is available to the community for registration at yourirvine.org. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/reopenirvine.

Great Park Balloon flights and Carousel rides have resumed.

 


 

The Palm Court Arts Complex is home to the Great Park Gallery and the Great Park Artist Studios. The Palm Court’s re-purposed military structures now form a cultural campus supporting the development of a fresh approach to establishing an interdisciplinary, public arts program.

As part of the City of Irvine’s Fine Arts Program, the Great Park Gallery and Artist Studios present a varied exhibition program from year to year, with shows scheduled 12 to 24 months in advance. For more information, see the Exhibition Proposal Requirement form here.

Great Park Gallery

Thursdays & Fridays: noon–4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free Admission


CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Chuck Jones: Season of Creativity

Exhibition Opening: Sunday, July 4, 1–3 p.m.
Exhibition: Sunday, July 4–Friday, December 31 

Chuck Jones: Season of Creativity is an exhibition designed to explore the process of animation from script to screen through original art, writing, and other ephemera created by Chuck Jones. Throughout his career of 70 years, artist Chuck Jones created more than 300 films; was nominated for nine Oscars, winning three as director; and received an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1996. During the golden age of animation, Jones helped bring to life some of the most famous Warner Bros. characters: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner. Throughout Chuck Jones: Season of Creativity, the community will have opportunities to participate in art and creativity programs, educational lectures, and a film series all inspired by Jones’ work and legacy. 

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

52nd Street: Jazz and the Photography of William Gottlieb  

February 13 - May 1, 2022   

Manhattan's 52nd Street formed a hub of musical creativity in the years immediately following World War II. It was here where legacies were created giving recognition to musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, and other emerging jazz geniuses of the era. 52nd Street: Jazz and the Photography of William Gottlieb will feature photographs and rare documents archiving this pivotal and exciting moment in American culture, captured by photographer and columnist William Gottlieb.

 

Great Park Artist Studios

Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free admission
*Great Park’s Artist Studios is subject to closures due to private event rentals and/or larger city-wide events.
 
Holidayz at the Park
November 20 – January 2, 2022 

‘Tis the season for family fun and holiday cheer at Great Park. Enjoy Holidayz at the Park from November 20, 2021 to January 2, 2022, when the park will be transformed into a winterscape featuring holiday-themed events, displays, and lights.


The Great Picture: Making the World's Largest Photograph

Ongoing

On July 12, 2006, six photographers — known as The Legacy Project — unveiled The Great Picture, the world’s largest photograph created by the largest camera. The photograph is three stories high by eleven stories wide (31 x 111 feet). It depicts a panoramic view of a portion of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, which closed in 1999, now the Orange County Great Park. It is a foreboding image, illustrating the desolate runways and station’s control tower, qualities emphasized by its grey tones from the gelatin silver process. The Great Picture highlights the nostalgia and melancholia associated with the station’s closing. To create the image, members of the Legacy Project (Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, and Clayton Spada) converted a hangar into a pinhole camera; an ancient image-making technique discovered by the Chinese in the 4th century BC. This project is a complex and multi-faceted statement about the history of photography, its changing technology in the digital age, and the interchange between process and subject matter in the making of a photograph.

MCAS El Toro: Life on the Base

Marine Corps Air Station El Toro opened in 1943 giving opportunities to young men and women who would come to call the base and surrounding areas home. While their days included the expected activities of life on a military base, their free time and recreational activities were fun and diverse. Through a curated selection of photographs, MCAS El Toro: Life on the Base will provide a glimpse into the recreational lives led by the men and women who served at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.  

Kiel Johnson: A View of MCAS El Toro

Kiel Johnson is an internationally recognized artist who is known for his meticulous work in cardboard. On display in the Great Park’s Artist Studios is Johnson’s large-scale 3D topographical map of what was once Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Johnson’s recreation is an interpretation of several maps representing MCAS El Toro which span from 1942-1999, sparking ideas that relate to memory, history, and legacy.

Image credit: Kiel Johnson  

Hangar 244

Thursdays & Fridays: Noon–4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
*Great Park’s Hangar 244 is subject to closures due to private event rentals and/or larger city-wide events.

Irvine Global Village Festival: Visual Arts Celebration 

Saturday, October 9, 2021 

The City of Irvine is proud to host the Irvine Global Village Festival’s second Visual Arts Celebration, hosted at the Great Park’s historic Hangar 244, where artists will be creating live art throughout the day. We hope to highlight the significant cultural value of the visual arts and celebrate the talent of our local artists.  

1971: Building Irvine

Opening November 2021
Ongoing 
 

In 1971 the City of Irvine became an incorporated city by the State of California, enabling it to become the thriving city we know today. In collaboration with University California, Irvine, Hangar 244 at the Great Park presents 1971: Building Irvine. Through historic photography and text, this exhibition celebrates community milestones, landmarks, and spaces built after 1971 while recognizing the past that brought us here. 

Stories of El Toro is located in historical Hangar 244 and features historical images, displays and artifacts that tell the story of the Great Park from its agricultural roots to its role in the military as Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro.

Opening Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro

Construction of Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro began on August 3, 1942, on land previously owned by the Irvine Company. The runways and taxiways were completed by December 1, 1942, and all squadron hangars were complete by January 15, 1943.

These photos, taken by Bob Blankman, a history archivist and member of the first unit stationed at El Toro, capture the building of the base.

Closing Marine Corps Air Station El Toro

In 1993, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro was designated for closing by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and all of its activities were to be transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The station officially closed on July 2, 1999.

Since 2002, the Legacy Project has documented the transformation of the former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro into the Orange County Great Park. They have created more than 200,000 images and famously turned a giant jet hangar into the world’s largest camera and used it to take the world’s largest picture.

These photos capture the Flying Bull insignia around the military base and its buildings.

Coordinates

This photography collection from the Legacy Project highlights seven former MCAS El Toro buildings, their purpose when the base was open, and their coordinates.

The Legacy Project is comprised of artists Mark Chamberlain, Clayton Spada, Jacques Garnier, Robert Johnson, and Douglas McCulloh.

A Guide to Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro

A Guide to Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro is a documentary about the history of the region.

This 9-minute archive will take you on a retrospective journey from the early days of the Irvine family’s prodigious ranching and agricultural projects, to the coming of World War II and the subsequent arrival of Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro.

The film screens every 20 minutes in the History Room of Hangar 244.