How did Segerstrom Center for the Arts get its name?
Ever wondered about the history of Segerstrom Center and where its name came from? We’ve got answers!
When you look at our gorgeous Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus today, you can’t help but wonder, what was here before these beautiful buildings were ever built?
Let’s go back in time—125 years back to be precise—when this area was entirely farmland.
The Segerstrom family came from Sweden to Orange County in 1898 to farm 20 acres of leased land. During the 1940s, they began the commercial production of lima beans, eventually becoming the largest lima bean producer in the United States. As success grew, they expanded their family business to include commercial real estate and retail management, and once Henry T. Segerstrom joined the firm in 1949, the vision continued to grow. Known for his generous leadership and expertise in urban planning, he was the driving force in the cultural expansion of Orange County.
In 1981, the Segerstrom family gifted the Orange County Music Center (OCMC) a $1 million cash gift for the design and construction of a major performing arts center as well as five acres of land. A few years later, OCMC then changed its name to the Orange County Performing Arts. On January 12, 2011, Orange County Performing Arts Center became Segerstrom Center for the Arts to honor the extraordinary contributions of the Segerstrom family; their generous contributions of land and unfaltering support of the arts have always been at the core of the Center’s success.
In addition to our performance spaces, the independent nonprofits South Coast Repertory and Orange County Museum of Art are also designated as part of our 14-acre campus. We are also home to several unique art installations including Connector, Reclining Figure, and Fire Bird, which can be found on our public art walk.
Although the Center’s name has changed throughout history, one thing remains constant: the vision to cultivate a cultural arts hub for Orange County.
So how do you pronounce “Segerstrom?”
If you’ve ever been curious about how to say “Segerstrom,” we’ve got you covered. Commonly mispronounced as SEE-gur-strum, the accurate pronunciation is sEGG-urr-strum (rhyming with egg or leg.) Next time you visit the Center, you can say it out loud with confidence and sound like an expert with your newfound knowledge on the family that drastically impacted arts in Orange County.
Spreading the Love with Donation Drives at the Center
At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we’ve been thrilled to be able to reach a wide range of theatergoers across Orange County, and through that, have found that we can utilize our reach to spread goodwill across the area.Read
Segerstrom Center for the Arts Anniversary
Wow, can you believe it? This month, our organization celebrates two major milestones: the 35th Anniversary of the original Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the 15th anniversary of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater.Read
Fun Facts Corner - Our history through posters
Here at Segerstrom Center, we have a hallway filled with past posters from performances over the years! They are a special way to show our history of shows that have come and gone.Read
Discover public art outdoors on the Segerstrom Center campus
One of Southern California’s best-kept secrets is the art walk in Costa Mesa featuring contemporary and modern artwork by world renowned artists. Come explore the diverse collection of pieces hidden in plain sight on our campus!Read