The Orange County Performing Arts Center has been renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to pay tribute to the family's continued contributions, which have helped to solidify the venue as one of the top institutions of its kind in the U.S. The announcement – and two others – was made on Wednesday during a public ceremony honoring the center's upcoming 25th anniversary, which was attended by some 1,500 guests, and community and center officials, in addition to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Countless people have worked to build this institution into the internationally acclaimed arts center and cultural town square that it is today,” said Thomas McKernan, chairman of the board. “But time and time again, the Segerstrom family has inspired us all with their leadership and generosity. We are honored to have that commitment reflected in the name of this institution.”
The Segerstroms were instrumental in the development and growth of the arts institution long before it opened its doors; the family has been granting land and funding for the venue since 1974. And when the iconic center in Costa Mesa opened in 1986, Henry Segerstrom served as the first chairman of the board. He was later named founding chairman.
“It has been our family’s privilege and honor to give back to the community and to ensure that the future of the center will be a bright one," said Segerstrom, who also serves as managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons. "The naming of Segerstrom Center for the Arts is greatly appreciated and is an acknowledgment that touches each of us very deeply.”
The center's new name encompasses the entire 14-acre campus, which includes the 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall, 250-seat Founders Hall, opened in 1986, and the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which was introduced in 2006. In addition, the campus is home to the South Coast Repertory, and a third area has been designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art, which is slated to open its new facility in 2016.
In addition, center officials on Wednesday also announced two new initiatives in honor of its 25th year. The center will create a new dance event highlighting Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev – two talented dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. The event will be presented in Segerstrom Hall in October of next year. And, over the course of the season, the center plans to make more than 10,000 tickets available for $10 and will set aside a select number of such passes available for each performance.
“As we look to a future of unlimited possibilities, it seems especially appropriate that we mark this new era, and new name, with a burst of creative energy, adding an important new work of choreography to the world’s stage,” said Terrence Dwyer, president of the center. “The new name of this treasured cultural institution, and the extraordinary artistry that will first come to life here, will stand as a testament to the visionary role and philanthropic generosity of the Segerstrom family.”
The renowned institution is the largest nonprofit arts organization in the county and routinely features ballet and dance from international companies; Broadway shows; musical artists; jazz and cabaret; and other family-friendly and free public activities. The institution also offers educational programs, as well as annual seasons of the Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale.
“My parents, Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom, taught us that the arts are a gift that has to be shared and passed on," said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, also a managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons and vice chairwoman of Support Groups for the Center. "While I thank the Center for this incomparable honor, I also want to bear witness to the fact that my family is just a part of this great institution. I salute everyone who has lent support to the Center and made it their cultural home—and especially those who have passed on the Center’s gift to their children.”
Photos by RMA Photography; courtesy of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
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