Honoring the Segerbloms




Friend of Classic Las Vegas member, Curator of History at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas and my good friend, Dennis McBride contributed this piece about a recent exhibit of Cliff Segerblom's work at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

On Monday, March 15, 2010 the Las Vegas Springs Preserve opened an exhibit of noted Nevada artist Cliff Segerblom’s photography in its Big Springs Gallery, an event which also served as a celebration of the 92nd birthday of Cliff’s wife, former Nevada State Assemblywoman Gene Segerblom. More than a hundred guests toured Cliff’s photos in gallery and honored Gene for her service to the state.

Cliff Segerblom [1915-1990] has been more recognized for his watercolor and acrylic paintings which chronicled the American Southwest, particularly Nevada's vanished frontier, its mining and farm towns, its rivers, canyons, deserts, and mountains. But his photography, the medium with which he began his career in 1939 when the Bureau of Reclamation hired him to photograph the Boulder Canyon Project, hasn’t gained the attention and following it deserves.

When Cliff died in 1990, his wife, Gene, donated his photographs and negatives to the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, from which the Springs Preserve’s exhibit was drawn. While many of his photographs served as models for Cliff’s paintings, the photos themselves are true works of art, few of which have ever been seen in public until now.

The March 15th opening of Cliff Segerblom’s photography exhibit was also a celebration of Gene Segerblom’s 92nd birthday. Teacher, writer, and politician, Gene Segerblom has long been one of the most influential people in Nevada.

In the early years of their marriage, Gene, Cliff, and their two children, Richard “Tick” and Robin, traveled the West, where Gene wrote feature stories for such publications as Desert Magazine, Arizona Highways, Nevada Highways and Parks, Nevada Magazine, and dozens of others. She was an inspiring teacher in the Boulder City schools, and served as a Boulder City councilwoman and in the Nevada State Assembly for four terms.

Gene, in fact, was a third-generation Nevada politician: her mother, Hazel Bell Wines, and grandfather, William J. Bell, both served in the Nevada legislature. Gene’s son, Richard Segerblom, elected to the state Assembly in 2006, is the fourth generation of Gene’s family to serve in the legislature.

 Just a week later, on March 27, the Southern Nevada Women’s History Project honored Gene at the 2nd Annual Nevada Women’s History Celebration at the West Charleston Library in Las Vegas. As part of a This Is Your Life spoof, when Gene rose to speak to the audience, out from behind the stage curtain to share their “Gene Stories” came Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley; Nevada Senator Dina Titus; Nevada State Senator David Parks; Clark County Commissioner and former legislator Chris Giunchigliani; Nevada State Assemblyman Lynn Stewart; and a representative from Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who presented Gene with a congratulatory letter from the Senate Majority Leader.