Since OMA does not have a permanent collection, the changing exhibits are the heart of the program. This instills the museum with an impressive freshness and brings in some of the most interesting contemporary work of the day. Occasionally the museum collaborates with other institutions and allows for live streaming options.
A Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibition is planned for later in the year. A virtual exhibition called Mozart@OMA was scheduled for earlier in the year but has been suspended as of now. This exhibition included works by artists with autism who worked in the realm of synesthesia, where one sense is mysteriously merged with one or more additional senses.
A varied selection of artists and presenters have graced the two buildings of OMA. Here are some of the recent shows that have already come to the museum.
In 2016, the museum was awarded a $150,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation to endow a series of interactive and public artist-in-residence programs at a variety of locations in San Diego County.
Tiny Canvases: The Art of Nails
This exhibition took a look at the possibilities inherent in designs in nails. It centered around the work of the Creative Nail Design group that began in Oceanside in 1979 and grew into a leader in the global nail industry. Showcasing the work of CND artisans, the exhibit revealed the possibilities of creating beauty through color and design on a tiny canvas: the human nail.
A selection of accomplished artists showed the possibilities of dress design by incorporating sculpture, collage, painting and photography. Creative materials such as gummy bears, collected beach trash and glass tiles were used in the works, which often sought to inject the projects with personal and societal relevance. The result was a creative look at the multiple meanings in a dress.
Brian Kesinger: Dream It Yourself
Artist, author and filmmaker Brian Kesinger created a program that sought to engage dreamers and visionaries. After working with a number of top studios, he then began to create his own characters. His show encouraged visitors to create their own works at OMA.