UCI announces location for a collection of seminal California art

A rendering depicts what Langson IMCA gallery spaces may look like.
(Courtesy of UCI)

This week UC Irvine announced the future location of the Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art.

The North Campus site, along Campus Drive near Jamboree Road, will be home to the new building, a project jumpstarted by a gift made last fall by Shanaz and Jack Langson.

Along with views of the San Joaquin Marsh Reserve, the proposed site is nearby the future UCI Medical Center–Irvine complex.

In a statement about the location, Museum Director Kim Kanatani noted the adjacency makes the site a potential center of activity.

The North Campus site will “serve as a vibrant hub for discovery, exchange and engagement,” Kanatani said, and is “intended to serve as a dynamic community crossroads and a physical manifestation of the cultural, social and natural environments reflected in the art of California and the artists who captured their varied experiences of the state.”

In a March 28 press release from the university, Shanaz Langson also weighed in on the harmonious relationship the two buildings might enjoy.

“What makes this development particularly exciting and unique is the proximity to the planned UCI Medical Center–Irvine and surrounding healing gardens,” said Langson. “Not only will the institute and museum serve as a plein air and contemporary art magnet for UCI and the greater California art community, it will also provide a research venue for the North Campus arts and health complex and promote healing through art.”

The proposed building will house Langson IMCA’s collection of seminal California art, which includes more than 4,500 pieces from the Irvine Museum and Buck collections, which can currently be found at the interim museum on 18881 Von Karman Ave. as well as various pop-up sites and campus galleries.

The building is projected to be completed over the next several years. With a location chosen, UCI officials are expected to next hire a consultant this year and do preliminary planning and cost estimates. An architect is expected to be selected in mid-2023, which means construction could begin in late 2024 or early 2025.

For now, fundraising efforts, including multiple naming opportunities inside the building, will continue.

“It’s a lovely location,” said Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan, according to the release. “When finished, it will be a beacon for city residents and all of Orange County.”

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