As part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2017, through the end of July, South Coast Plaza presents “Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream,” a historical exhibit which tells the story of how the family of C.J. and Bertha Segerstrom immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden and established C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, an agricultural and commercial real estate enterprise in Southern California.
The family developed South Coast Plaza, one of the world’s leading luxury destinations for shopping and dining and also played a significant role in establishing the renowned Segerstrom Center for the Arts. “The story of the Segerstrom family’s hard work, imagination and vision is entwined with that of Orange County’s evolution into a dynamic metropolis,” says Debra Gunn Downing, Executive Director of Marketing for South Coast Plaza. “The exhibit chronicles a unique journey from agriculture to luxury shopping and philanthropy.”
A majority of the historical information and never-before-seen photographs in the exhibit were curated from the personal archives of Ruth Ann Moriarty, the last living third-generation descendant of C.J. and Bertha Segerstrom. Moriarty is the sister of Henry T. Segerstrom, who co-founded South Coast Plaza in 1967 with their first cousin, Hal Segerstrom. “As South Coast Plaza celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it is the perfect time for our family to reflect upon our beginnings,” Moriarty says. “This exhibit enables us to share with others our appreciation for the opportunities we have had to fulfill an American dream.”
The exhibit also showcases Oiseau by Joan Miró and Tour Aux Jambes by Jean Dubuffet, large sculptures commissioned by the Segerstroms, as well as a vintage tractor from the Costa Mesa lima bean farm symbolizing the family’s agricultural roots. More than one million visitors are expected to visit South Coast Plaza during the exhibit’s seven-week summer run in Jewel Court.
“Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream” exhibition opening held at South Coast Plaza on June 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California:
Credit: Photos by Nicholas Gingold/Capture Imaging