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Orange County Museum of Art names chief curator for new museum

Heidi Zuckerman, Orange County Museum of Arts CEO and director outside the new building.
Heidi Zuckerman, Orange County Museum of Art CEO and director, speaks before leading members of the media on a guided tour of the new Orange County Museum of Art building in October in Costa Mesa.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The Orange County Museum of Art announced Monday morning the appointment of Courtenay Finn as chief curator and Meagan Burger as director of learning and engagement of the museum. Finn and Burger come into their new leadership roles as the museum prepares to open in a new building in Costa Mesa in October 2022.

“Courtenay and Meagan are wonderful additions to OCMA’s leadership, whose work and impact will reflect our vision for a dynamic, engaged and diverse museum of the 21st century,” said Chief Executive and Director Heidi Zuckerman in a press release. “Both of these women worked at the Aspen Art Museum during my tenure, and I’ve watched their careers develop with great admiration. As we create OCMA’s next chapter, they already have countless ideas of how to collaborate and serve Southern California’s many communities, cultures and interests.”

Courtenay Finn is the new chief curator of the Orange County Museum of Art.
Courtenay Finn is the chief curator of the Orange County Museum of Art, OCMA Chief Executive and Director Heidi Zuckerman announced Monday.
(Benedicte Gyldenstierne Sehested)

Finn served as senior curator at the Aspen Art Museum before her current role at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland as chief curator. Finn will join the team in March 2022 and will oversee the curatorial department and the mix of exhibitions and permanent collection installations in OCMA’s new building.

“It’s an honor to be joining OCMA and come to Southern California to work with Heidi again,” remarked Finn in the release. “The energy around the museum and in the local creative communities is inspiring. I am excited to work collaboratively with the dynamic OCMA team to build a vibrant curatorial program that continues its longstanding commitment to experimentation, places artists and communities in meaningful dialogue, and explores how art can be an agent for transformation.”

Burger assumed her role in October and oversees the development, alignment and integration of learning, public programs and community partnerships at OCMA. Burger previously served as the manager of adult learning at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

“OCMA respects every individual as both learner and teacher — I am thrilled to spearhead the development of programs and initiatives that will expand and engage our communities, cultivate inclusivity, spark curiosity, as well as transform traditional narratives,” said Burger in the release.

A lower level window gallery at the new Orange County Museum of Art building in Costa Mesa.
A lower level window gallery constructed below the upper plaza along on the east side of the new Orange County Museum of Art building in Costa Mesa.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The institution’s new building is expected to open on Oct. 8, with free general admission, effective for 10 years, made possible by a $2.5-million gift from Lugano Diamonds, in Newport Beach.

The opening inaugural special exhibition will be “California Biennial 2022,” which will celebrate the museum’s history. CB22 will be guest co-curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden and Gilbert Vicario.

Inaugural exhibitions will also include “13 Women,” curated by Zuckerman, which will pull from the museum’s collection and celebrate the women who originally founded the museum and “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World),” the artist’s first West Coast museum retrospective since a 1978 exhibition at OCMA.

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