OCMA could provide city with artwork

The Newport Beach City Council votes next week on a proposed agreement with the Orange County Museum of Art by which the organization would provide the city with art pieces for an outdoor sculpture park that is part of the planned Civic Center project.

The agreement was brokered by Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry. The $120 million project will be built on 16 acres at 1100 Avocado Ave., and is scheduled to open in 2012.

"This agreement creates a unique partnership between the city and a prestigious museum," Mayor Curry said Wednesday. "The museum has agreed to make available to the city world-class art that will be significantly of a higher quality than if the city had tried to do this on its own."

The City Council will consider the public/private partnership agreement at its June 22 meeting.

If the council approves it, OCMA will either provide the city with art, either as a loan from its permanent collection or as a gift. The contract stipulates that OCMA will provide at least one new art piece every two years.

According to the contract, the city will provide maintenance, security and insurance for artwork displayed in the park.

However, because the artwork is being provided to by OCMA through a partnership, taxpayers will not incur any significant costs, Curry said.

Once complete, the sculpture park will serve as an extension of the museum and an outdoor exhibit space for future acquisitions, OCMA Director Dennis Szakacs said.

"Art is vital to the life of a community," Szakacs said. "As that, the Civic Center will be the center of life for Newport; this was the ideal location."

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