State Sen. Dave Min secures $250,000 for OCMA’s public educational programs
This summer, State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) secured nearly $10 million for local priorities in the 2023-24 state budget, which includes disbursements for 10 projects in the 37th Senate District. The Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa is among the projects to secure funding.
“Sen. Min is a true champion of art and culture in Orange County, who understands that a world-class art museum is greatly needed here and deserves support from the state,” said OCMA’s president of the board of trustees, Lucy Sun.
A sum of $250,000 will go to the museum for public educational programs. Min presented the disbursement in a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11, where he addressed a small crowd of OCMA board members on the Chalmers Pavilion, in front of Jennifer Guidi’s outdoor installation, “Kundalini Rising.”
The disbursement comes after a tour Min took of the museum in early June, accompanied by members of the staff, Sun and museum director Heidi Zuckerman.
“A few weeks later my cellphone rang, and it was Sen. Min, telling me of the opportunity to obtain funding in the California state budget and giving us an hour to put together a proposal,” recounted Sun. “Two weeks later, OCMA receives it first-ever gift from the state of California.”
This is also the first time OCMA has been recognized as a line item in the state budget in the museum’s 61-year history.
OCMA hosts many first-time museumgoers, said Sun, and it also has the distinction of being the only institution on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus that offers free admission.
Min emphasized the work the museum does to make art accessible to all.
“I have always felt that art can be intimidating, particularly for minorities and low-income people,” said Min. “The mission of what OCMA is trying to do here, expanding contemporary art and art generally to everybody is one I really feel strongly about as a child of immigrants myself.”
Sun said the money will be put to good use, rounding out OMCA’s Learning and Engagement programs, which include lectures, workshops, school tours, screenings and more.
“In the last year we have really changed the dynamics of who goes to museums in Orange County and who has access to art. Here, our motto is everybody is welcome,” said Sun. “We call it the democratization of art and that is very much what we are trying to do here.”
In September, Zuckerman spoke to TimesOC about the staggering attendance the museum has seen in its first year at its new location.
“On Sept. 8, we were open for 11 months, and on that day we welcomed our 250,000th visitor,” said Zuckerman. “We have served more than a quarter million people in 11 months.”
Since September, the number of visitors has climbed to 263,000, 13 times the attendance OMCA saw at its former location. More than 17,000 of those guests participated in public programming this year at the museum.
“We did more than 300 public programs, more than one for each day that we were open,” Sun said. “Some 70% have told us in surveys that they could not come without free admission. This is what Sen. Min’s efforts have and continue to support.”
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