The Hilbert Museum of California Art celebrated the official groundbreaking of its renovation on Feb. 15. The yearlong construction project, which will repurpose the neighboring building recently vacated by Chapman’s Department of Dance, will triple the size of the museum, adding galleries, event spaces, a café and a research library.

Since opening in 2016, the Hilbert Museum has established itself as one of the leading art museums in Southern California, attracting more than 30,000 visitors to the City of Orange annually, and has been named one of the best museums in Orange County by OC Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. The museum’s collection features thousands of California Scene paintings donated by museum founders Mark and Janet Hilbert, and includes collections of animation, movie art and American illustration.

“The Hilbert Museum serves both Chapman University and our larger Orange community in so many ways,” City of Orange Mayor Dan Slater said at the groundbreaking. “This museum has become not just a showcase for the paintings on its walls, but also a meeting place for all the arts — its rich programming schedule presents talks, films, performances and more. It has become Orange’s de facto cultural living room where local arts lovers gather.” The museum is expected to reopen early in 2024. Until then, visitors can see special exhibitions and highlights from the Hilbert Collection at a temporary location at 216 E. Chapman Ave., one block east of the Orange Plaza, in a building formerly occupied by U.S. Bank.

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