The Institute and Museum of California Art (IMCA) was established by University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 2017, following the acquisition of two important collections of California Art: The Irvine Museum Collection and The Buck Collection. Working with numerous partners, IMCA considers what constitutes California Art and how to tell these stories in informed, inclusive, and just ways, ensuring that a diversity of voices and lived experiences are presented.
IMCA’s holdings currently include over 4,500 works representing a wide array of genres and mediums, spanning late 19th century California Impressionism and plein air painting to Post-War and contemporary art. Through its growing collection, research institute, and public programming, IMCA celebrates artists responding to the singular California experience, initiates research to generate new scholarship, and fosters meaningful encounters and experiences with art and its global contexts.
An integral part of a leading research university, IMCA is a dynamic center for the study, presentation, and appreciation of California Art—the creative output forged by the state’s distinct features, history, peoples, and natural environments. IMCA builds on UCI’s mission to position the arts as a core component of the UCI experience and a vibrant asset to the Irvine and regional communities.
Led by Museum Director Kim Kanatani, IMCA works with colleagues in the Provost’s Office, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Department of Art, Department of Art History, School of Education, School of Social Sciences, and the Libraries. IMCA’s goal is to meaningfully serve and engage with its constituents including UCI students, faculty, staff, and alumni; artists, curators, and scholars; peer institutions; local and regional residents; K-12 students and teachers in Orange County; and tourists and visitors, among others. In collaboration with local school districts and community and cultural organizations, IMCA is a primary resource for object-based arts education for the region’s youth—teaching visual literacy, art practice, and history.
Because a museum on campus was central to the university’s master plan developed by architect William Pereira in 1962, IMCA will construct a new purpose-built facility in the years ahead. Until then, IMCA presents rotating exhibitions and programs in an interim museum located at 18881 Von Karman Avenue (previously occupied by The Irvine Museum.)
Admission is free and open to the public. Due to COVID-19, the interim museum is temporarily closed, but will reopen on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Until IMCA can welcome you back in person, we are hosting virtual offerings. To learn more, follow IMCA on Instagram (@uciimca) and connect through our e-newsletter Monthly Muse.