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Best Free Museums in Orange County

By: Cityseeker
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Grand Central Art Center

In collaboration with the city of Santa Ana, the Grand Central Art Center at Cal State Fullerton features exhibits and performances by established and emerging artists. The complex consists of live/work studios for graduate students, in addition to art galleries and a theater for performance art.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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Orange County Museum of Art

If you are driving south along the coast for the day from L.A., this gallery is ideally situated near the popular Fashion Island shopping center, not even a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. The subject of much controversy among Orange County's art crowd over the past few years, the museum expanded to almost double its original size when the Newport Harbor Art Museum (same location) and the Laguna Art Museum consolidated to form this larger complex, scandalizing the art-loving Laguna Beach community. The permanent collection focuses on late 20th-century and California art, but the museum enjoys exhibitions that have included works from artists such as Rico Lebrun and Pablo Picasso. The Plein Air Café serves lunch, and a meal will earn you free admission to the museum.

Newport Beach, CA, United States
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CSFU Sculpture Collection

Located on California State University Fullerton, the Campus Sculpture Collection is an outdoor display scattered throughout the campus. From bizarre to artistic, these sculptures often have a whimsical tone and are made from everything from wax to steel to fiberglass. Walk through the campus to take a look at the artwork, including the Sea Bee which was created from a salvaged fuel ship and it looks like a ship is sinking into the lawn. Some other notable works include Fallen David, a replica of Michelangelo’s David that was broken into pieces during an earthquake of 1987, Arise by Eric Goulder and Lloyd Hamrol's Redoubling Wallpath, to name a few.

Fullerton, CA, United States
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