September 26, 2018


For Immediate Release: September 6, 2018



Honorees Margaret Atwood and Glenn Ligon to Receive Tributes by Michael Chabon and Bryan Stevenson

Solange Ferguson, Elizabeth Segerstrom, and Darren Star to Serve as Gala Co-Chairs

Presented in Partnership with South Coast Plaza

Leon Bridges, photo by Jack McKain

(Los Angeles, CA)—The Hammer Museum announced today that Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Leon Bridges will perform at its annual Gala in the Garden, which will take place on Sunday, October 14. Solange Ferguson, Elizabeth Segerstrom, and Darren Star will serve as co-chairs for the event honoring award-winning author Margaret Atwood and acclaimed artist Glenn Ligon. Also participating in this year’s program are Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, who will deliver the tribute speeches for Atwood and Ligon, respectively. The annual celebration recognizes artists and innovators who have made profound contributions to society through their work.

International shopping destination South Coast Plaza will partner with the Hammer Museum to present this year’s Gala in the Garden. The highly anticipated event attracts cultural and civic leaders in Los Angeles, as well as artists, collectors, and patrons of the arts. Last year’s event raised $2.4 million for the museum. Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques will once again create the menu.

Proceeds from the gala will support the Hammer’s dynamic and internationally acclaimed exhibitions and public programs.

Past honorees include Hilton Als, Laurie Anderson, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Joan Didion, Ava DuVernay, Dave Eggers, Frank Gehry, Robert Gober, Matt Groening, Todd Haynes, Diane Keaton, Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger, Tony Kushner, Paul McCarthy, Joni Mitchell, Catherine Opie, Lari Pittman, Miuccia Prada, Charles Ray, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Alice Waters.

On his sophomore album, Good Thing, Leon Bridges’ voice breaks into the debut single “Bad Bad News” in much the same way the artist broke into the public eye in 2015—forcefully, honestly, and all at once. “They tell me I was born to lose,” he sings with characteristic soulfulness, “but I made a good, good thing out of bad, bad news.” The lyric is a fitting way to sum up a whirlwind ascent for the young artist. In 2015, Bridges’ first album, Coming Home, surprised the music industry by debuting at #5 on the Billboard Top 200. Only months prior, he had been playing sparsely attended open mics in Dallas-Fort Worth after work washing dishes at a local restaurant. In a span of three years, Coming Home would take Leon to the White House to perform for former President Obama, see him on the stage of Saturday Night Live, and earn him nominations for two Grammy Awards including Best R&B Album. The debut album has gone on to sell over 500,000 records (certified RIAA Gold) and has been streamed 350 million times. Leon now regularly sells out 10,000-person capacity rooms in cities around the world.

Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and visual artist Solange Ferguson has used her platform to advocate for representation while providing constructive and empowering political messages. With her album, A Seat at the Table, Solange has invoked themes of identity, empowerment, grief and healing. Her performance art shows at the Guggenheim Museum, the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, coupled with her art installation at London’s Tate Modern museum and recent interdisciplinary video and dance performance piece, Metatronia, which premiered at the Hammer Museum, have culminated into a career defying convention.

In 2016, Solange’s album A Seat at The Table debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. The record’s success led to her performing at the White House for President Obama and her Orion’s Rise performance series that included sold-out shows at legendary venues such as Radio City Music Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House.

Solange has been honored with Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award, Billboard’s Impact Award, and named Harvard University’s 2018 Artist of the Year for her work in music and art. She was also honored by The New School as a pioneering figure in fashion at the 70th Annual Parsons Benefit.

Elizabeth Segerstrom is co-managing partner at South Coast Plaza, the renowned international shopping and dining destination in Costa Mesa, California.

As an arts philanthropist, Elizabeth is deeply involved in institutions such as Carnegie Hall, American Ballet Theatre, the American Friends of Versailles and the Versailles Foundation. She is a member of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA Leadership Council. Her belief in the power of the arts to transform lives is reflected in her support for Turnaround Arts California, which builds arts education programs in schools in greatest cultural and socio-economic need.

Elizabeth shared her passion for the arts with her late husband, Henry T. Segerstrom, and she continues to uphold his profound legacy in the arts institutions in which he was involved. She sits on the board of directors at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a leading performing arts institution in Southern California. Among her ongoing endeavors is the Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom Select Series, a collaboration with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County that brings acclaimed performances to the center.

Elizabeth holds a doctoral degree in psychology from New York University and is an accomplished entrepreneur and published author.

Darren Star is the creator and executive producer of three of the last decade’s most popular television phenomena: Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and the three-time Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning HBO comedy series Sex and the City. In each series, Star’s multi-dimensional characters, captivating settings and layered plot lines hooked viewers, and became significant elements of contemporary pop culture. Star’s current series Younger is entering production for its sixth Season for the Paramount Network.

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novels The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Gentlemen of the Road, Telegraph Avenue, and Moonglow; the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth; and the essay collections Maps and Legends, Manhood for Amateurs, and the upcoming Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and has been awarded 34 honorary doctorate degrees. He is the author of award winning and New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy.

In April 2018, EJI opened a new museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery. This is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened at the same time.

Renowned as a leading international shopping destination, South Coast Plaza is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques, critically-acclaimed restaurants and the adjacent celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It is the West Coast’s premier shopping experience, with its proximity to beaches and John Wayne Airport, customized concierge services, and unparalleled collection of diverse retailers — from Gucci, Hermès, Cartier and Harry Winston to Dolce & Gabbana, The Webster, Dior, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and more. South Coast Plaza is located in Orange County, California, in the city of Costa Mesa. Information: or 800.782.8888.

The Hammer Museum is part of the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA, and offers exhibitions and collections that span classic to contemporary art, as well as programs that spark meaningful encounters with art and ideas. Through a wide-ranging, international exhibition program and the biennial, Made in L.A., the Hammer highlights contemporary art since the 1960s, especially the work of emerging and under recognized artists. The exhibitions, permanent collections, and nearly 300 public programs annually—including film screenings, lectures, symposia, readings, music performances, and workshops for families—are all free to the public.

Admission to all exhibitions and programs at the Hammer Museum is free, made possible through the generosity of benefactors Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter. Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed Mondays and national holidays. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard at Westwood, Los Angeles. Onsite parking $6 (maximum 3 hours) or $6 flat rate after 6 p.m. Visit for details or call 310-443-7000.
For event inquiries, please call 310-443-7026 or email

Nancy Lee, The Hammer Museum, 310-443-7016,
Andy Gelb, SLATE PR, 310-461-0111,
Elyse Weissman, SLATE PR, 310-461-0111,