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.

Great Park Gallery

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

CURRENT EXHIBITION

A Brief History of the El Toro Air Show: 1950–1997

June 2–August 18, 2019
Exhibition Opening: Sunday, June 2, 1–3 p.m.

What began as an opening reception for Armed Forces Day in 1950 to encourage locals to visit military bases became the much-anticipated annual El Toro Air Show of Orange County. With attendance eventually reaching upwards of 2 million spectators, the El Toro Air Shows became an iconic event for Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and the aviation industry. Artist Paul Gavin has dedicated his career to the celebration of US Armed Forces by contributing artwork to a number of military related events, including the El Toro Air Show of Orange County. El Toro Air Show: 1950–1997 will feature Gavin’s work in conjunction with community members who have captured the history of the Air Show through photography and collected memorabilia.

Featuring work by: Cynthia Castaneda, Joe Conway III, Paul Gavin, Kimberleigh Gavin, Bethany Girod, George Katzenberger, and collaborative art by The Draculas.

UPCOMING EXHIBITION

Artist Statement

Sunday, September 1–Sunday, November 10
Exhibition Opening: Sunday, September, 1–3 p.m.

Artist Statement will showcase how contemporary artists have challenged and changed our understanding of traditional mediums including painting, photography, and site-specific installations. Participating artists studied in Master of Fine Arts programs at California Institute of the Arts; California State University Long Beach; Claremont Graduate School; Otis College of Art and Design; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of Southern California.

Artists include: Ivy Guild, Stephanie Mei Huang, Chloe Jeongmyo Kim, Justin Rightsell, Michelle K. Sauer, Reed van Brunschot, and Zoe Zhuang.

Orange County Art Book Collection

The Orange County Art Book Collection is a curated library of books documenting the history of Orange County art and exhibitions.

 

Great Park Artist Studios

Due to construction, the Artist Studios will be closed until August 1. 

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.

March–June 
Irvine Valley College

June–August 
California State University, Long Beach

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 Corp 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.