Exhibitions

Please note: The Great Park Gallery and Hangar 244 are closed until further notice effective July 1, in accordance with state guidance from the California Department of Public Health. For more information, see the California Department of Public Health's press release here.

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 EXHIBITION

Home

Sunday, September 6–Sunday, November 15

Ideas of home can be abstract and fluid, not always referring to physical structures or places while simultaneously carrying different meanings from person to person. The Palm Court Arts Complex at the Great Park presents Home, an exhibition showcasing artworks that address ideas of what a home is or can be. Through a diverse range of materials, mediums, and perspectives, Home explores themes of domesticity, residence, occupancy, and structure. 

Please note: Home is currently postponed while the Great Park Gallery remains closed. For the most up-to-date information, visit the City of Irvine's Facility Updates webpage.

Image: Passage, Siobhan McClure, Oil on Canvas Panel, 2015, 48x48"

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

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.


MCAS El Toro: Life on the Base

March 1–August 16
Exhibition Opening: Sunday, March 1, 1–3 p.m. 

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.

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.