Photos: The new Orange County Museum of Art is opening its doors. Here’s a sneak peek

A skylight over the museum's atrium.

A skylight over the museum’s atrium illuminates “sky bridges” connecting galleries and other spaces on multiple levels of the building.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Costa Mesa has a new neighbor— the Orange County Museum of Art, which debuts its new building to the public at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Oct. 8.

The $94-million building, designed by Morphosis Architects as directed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, has been in the works for more than a decade. It features a grand outdoor staircase, modeled after New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art steps, that will double as amphitheater seating for performances. There’s a large-scale, site-specific sculpture by Sanford Biggers atop the terrace, more than 15,000 square feet of green space and nearly double the gallery space to show art.

Which is a good thing, because the museum is opening with five exhibitions including a survey of work by 81-year-old New York-based sculptor Fred Eversley; a show of work by “13 pioneering female artists” in OCMA’s collection that pays homage to the museum’s 13 female founders — the institution was formed in 1962 as the Balboa Pavilion Gallery; and a resurrection of the museum’s long-running California Biennial.

But first, OCMA must finish construction. The Times got an exclusive photo tour of the space as the museum put finishing touches on the building just weeks before opening its doors.

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