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Laguna Museum Reopening

January 16, 1986|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

The reopening of the Laguna Art Museum's main facility in Laguna Beach has been rescheduled for a third time--the projected date is now mid-September.

Museum director William Otton said Tuesday that the delays caused by the discovery 10 weeks ago of an underwater spring on the site have been longer than anticipated. Recent rains have also been a factor, he added.

"The problems from the flooding and redesigning (of the drainage system and elevator shaft area) are just about over. We will be back on track very soon," Otton said.

The 56-year-old museum on Pacific Coast Highway was originally scheduled to reopen last fall, after a $1.1-million renovation and expansion. But when it was closed last April for the work, the announced reopening was moved to 1986--first May, then June.

When the facility reopens in mid-September, the museum will offer exhibits on California impressionism, Southern California contemporary artists and a survey of regional photographers, Otton said. (The museum had originally planned to reopen with its own retrospective show on Elmer Bischoff. That show, now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will not be available for the Laguna Art Museum's new reopening date, Otton said.)

Under the expansion plan, the three-level landmark structure overlooking Laguna Beach's main beach is being completely revamped. The 9,000-square-foot structure will gain another 6,000 square feet that contain three new galleries, plus storage, library and administrative spaces.

Otton and his staff operate at present from temporary quarters at the Great American Savings Bank branch in downtown Laguna Beach. Most of the museum's 800-piece permanent collection is being stored at various locales in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Since October, 1984, the museum has been operating a 3,000-square-foot satellite facility at South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa. Under the rent-free arrangement with mall operator C. J. Segerstrom & Sons, the satellite will operate through December, 1986.

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