Exhibitions

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.

Learn more about exhibitions at the Irvine Fine Arts Center here.
Learn more about exhibitions at City Hall here

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 EXHIBITION

Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light   

Exhibition: Through August 28 

From his studio in the Southern California desert, Phillip K. Smith III creates light-based work that draws upon ideas of space, color, environment, and change. Smith is known for his large-scale public installations that have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.  
 
Collected by museums and clients around the world and featured in hundreds of online and print publications, his notable installations include Lucid Stead in Joshua Tree, California; Reflection Field and Portals at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival; Detroit Skybridge in Detroit, Michigan; Open Sky in Milan, Italy; and his most recent project Parallel Perpendicular in West Hollywood, California. Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light gives viewers an inside look at the impact of large-scale public art in shared spaces and the power of light in the public realm through 3D model displays, photographic documentation, video, and narrative.

Lean more about Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works, a minimalist installation showcasing small-scale static artworks, on display in the Artist Studios in conjunction with Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Lighthere.

Contemporary Classical in the Palm Court

Saturday, June 25: 1–3 p.m.
Saturday, July 23: 1–3 p.m.
Artist Studios in the Palm Court Arts Complex

In support of Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, the Great Park Palm Court Arts Complex presents a two-part live classical music series, Contemporary Classical in the Palm Court. Inspired by the artwork of Phillip K. Smith III, Contemporary Classical in the Palm Court highlights ambient, minimalist, and contemporary classical music. Pulling inspiration from composers such as Erik Satie, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass, cellist Bella Pepke and her band will perform and interpret select movements with cello, vibraphone, guitar, and violin. Bring folding chairs and blankets for seating in and around the Artist Studios and the Palm Court; no advance registration is needed for these free events.

Parallel Perpendicular: Art and Public Space

Sunday, August 7: 1–3 p.m.
Great Park Gallery  

In support of Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, the Great Park Gallery presents a panel discussion on the function of public art in shared spaces. Completed in the Spring of 2022 in the city of West Hollywood, world-renowned artist Phillip K. Smith III’s latest public art project Parallel Perpendicular was erected. By day, the sculpture’s forms reflect the park visitors and environment as well as the surrounding West Hollywood views. By night, the mirrored surfaces become pure fields of color that slowly move through the color spectrum. Join Phillip K. Smith III and the City of West Hollywood’s Public Art Administrator Rebecca Ehemann for a discussion on the processes and functions of art in public spaces. This event is free and open to the public; no advance registration is needed.

 

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.
 

CURRENT EXHIBITION

Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works

Through August 28

Running in conjunction with the Great Park Gallery exhibition Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, this minimalist installation showcases small-scale static artworks by contemporary artist Phillip K. Smith III. Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Works features a selection of wall-mounted and free-standing sculptures that highlight the purity of light. Unlike the large-scale public artworks featured in the Gallery exhibition, this installation provides viewers with intimate viewing experiences of pure forms that rely on the interplay of light and shadows to produce optical experiences.

Learn more about Phillip K. Smith III: Shared Light, on display in the Great Park Gallery in conjunction with Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Shadow Workshere.

 

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.

Special Exhibition

1971: Building Irvine

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. 

Ongoing Exhibitions

MCAS El Toro, 2003

In 2003, a group of six photographers branded as The Legacy Project, set out to document the transition of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro into the Great Park. Located in the History Room of Hangar 244, these photographs capture MCAS El Toro, archiving the buildings and structures on the base before construction would commence. 

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 hallway of Hangar 244.