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.

The Great Park Balloon flights have resumed; the Carousel is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to open in fall 2021.

 


 

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


UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

Chuck Jones: Season of Creativity

Exhibition Opening: Sunday, July 4, 1–3 p.m.
Exhibition: Sunday, July 4–Sunday, September 12 

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. 

Great Park Artist Studios

Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free admission

Common Walls

Common Walls

Common Walls is a shared space for community groups to curate collaborative art installations.


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.

Hangar 244

Thursdays & Fridays: Noon–4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

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.