Flush with a private donation of $2.1 million, La Canada’s Descanso Gardens recently announced groundbreaking on the Sturt-Haaga Gallery of Art, a new LEED Silver certified art gallery and exhibition space meant to showcase both locally and nationally produced art in one of Los Angeles’ only public gardens.
Funded entirely by Heather Sturt Haaga and Paul Haaga, Jr. of La Canada-Flintridge, whose donation is the largest in the history of Descanso, the 2,800-square-foot gallery complex will make use of an existing structure, once used as the garage for Descanso’s founder, E. Manchester Boddy. It will include several new structures designed by LA-based Frederick Fisher and Partners.
The design includes two exhibition spaces to be created within the existing structure, and a new 1,300-square-foot gallery to be built into a hillside adjacent to the former garage. The design incorporates both vertical gardens and roof gardens to create visual connections between the new structure and its verdant setting in the 160-acre park.
“We wanted to both respect the structure that was already there and yet add to it a structure of a level of quality that one would do from scratch,” Frederick Fisher said of his design.
The mission, said David Brown, executive director of Descanso, will be to inspire a new appreciation of nature through visual arts. He added that the gallery plans to invite artists to come to the Gardens to exhibit their work in solo shows, group shows, and thematically-curated exhibitions.