Henry T. Segerstrom had a vision of making the arts accessible to the public. This vision coupled with his contributions and commitments to the arts, created today’s third most populous county in California, Orange County. Today, Orange County is renowned for its sophisticated arts community, the heart of which is the Segerstrom Center for Arts, located in Costa Mesa.
Born in 1923, Segerstrom was raised with strong business values and a love and appreciation of the arts. In the 1940s, Orange County was home to many cultural institutions and there was a great interest in the arts, but there wasn’t any performance or public art. A farming family, the Segerstroms owned a sizable amount of land in the region, and in 1979, they generously donated five acres to build the foundation for a cultural center to house the three developing cultural institutions in Orange County—the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Pacific Symphony, and the Pacific Chorale. By 1986, they all became one Center, originally called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, which eventually expanded and evolved to become the Segerstrom Center for Arts, a performance art complex, named in recognition of the Segerstrom’s inimitable generosity, contributions, and dedication.
Today, the performance art complex comprises Segerstrom Hall, a 3,000-seat opera house, Founders Hall, an intimate 250-seat hall, the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the 500-seat Samueli Theater, and the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center’s studio performance space and Boeing Education Lab. It’s also surrounded by a beautiful Arts Plaza, commissioned and curated by Segerstrom, expanding upon his vision of art for the public, that includes works of art from renowned artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Carl Milles, and Aiko Miyawaki. This beautifully illustrated volume is filled with gorgeous imagery of the Center, from start to finish.