MISSION & HISTORY
Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) is a cultural jewel located in downtown Oceanside with a view of the Pacific Ocean and the historic Oceanside Pier. In addition to contemporary art exhibitions, OMA offers classes, lectures, concerts, docent tours, and community events. The museum is a gathering place where friends meet to share and enjoy rich cultural experiences.
Exhibitions showcase the finest art of the southern California region including paintings, sculptures, studio furniture, art quilts, and architectural glass. OMA’s galleries feature on enlightening survey of contemporary art enriched by the cultures of the community. The museum’s galleries are redesigned for each exhibition, surprising visitors with a fresh, exciting visual transformation for every new exhibit.
Oceanside Museum of Art is housed in side-by-side buildings designed by two of southern California’s most renowned Modernist architects. The classic Irving Gill designed building is nestled against the contemporary Frederick Fisher designed Central Pavilion creating the perfect union of past and present architecture.
OMA operates as a private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation and was originally founded by a core group of citizens who seized upon the vision of a museum and overcame all obstacles and skepticism to bring that vision to fruition. After almost eight years of planning, OMA began providing exhibitions and public programs in 1995. With the support of the Oceanside City Council and City staff, the lease for the renowned Irving Gill Building, the historic site of the Oceanside City Hall, was approved and a home for the museum was established. Following a renovation to the interior of the Gill Building, OMA formally opened its doors on October 6, 1997.
In 2008, OMA completed a contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot expansion, designed by noted architect Fredrick Fisher. The new building was melded seamlessly with the original 5,000 square-foot Irving Gill modernist building.
In addition to more than 15 highly praised contemporary art exhibitions per year, museum programming includes concerts, films, culinary events, fundraising parties, evening events, docent tours and chartered travel to other local, national and international cultural art venues and destinations. OMA’s audience is comprised of people of all ages, different walks of life, and diverse cultural backgrounds.
Today and looking toward the future, OMA continues to grow as an accredited, sustainable, and nationally acclaimed gathering place to celebrate the inspiring and transformative power of arts and culture. Annual development of exhibitions, events, and educational programming are designed with this vision as a means of making deeper connections with the San Diego community and the greater Southern California region. The mission of Oceanside Museum of Art is to celebrate art through engagement, education, and innovation.