“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration,” wrote artist Claude Monet.
The Marin Art & Garden Center in its promise to preserve and share the beauty of nature feeds the richness of the souls of its visitors. And among the simple ferns, the ornate roses and the shadows of the mighty trees there is a certain magic that thrives in nature.
The historic 11-acre property in Ross that has been a natural sanctuary and magnet for generations of visitors, will celebrate its 75th anniversary with special celebrations and activities over the summer months. Marin Art and Garden was founded in 1945 by a group of visionary women to ensure the preservation of Marin County’s scenic beauty and open space. These leaders of the local conservation movement wanted to save the property from development and foster a community engaged with the arts and gardens.
During the Coronavirus pandemic Marin Art & Garden Center, in compliance with State and County shelter in place orders, closed the Center’s parking lot and indoor facilities, but has welcomed the community to visit on foot or bicycle.
“We’ve had overwhelming feedback from people who’ve visited the property over these last months on how much they value the experience of being here and enjoying the plants and gardens which are in full bloom,” said Antonia Adezio, MAGC Executive Director. “Spending time in green space provides a wonderful respite and a feeling of calm in these uncertain times, something we can all use right now.”
Garden manager Steven Schwager and his crew, along with a team of master gardeners known as the Pruning Guild, have been essential for the gardens.
“People have been coming to explore the grounds. People who have never been there before enjoy discovering this green space,” Adezio said. “Our gardening team has taken no time off. The gardens themselves in the past two years have become even more beautiful.”
The pandemic has affected the center and its facilities. Art exhibitions were put off, as were weddings and private parties — key revenue streams for the nonprofit. MAGC will highlight its 75th anniversary celebrations with an online fundraiser. Visit MAGC’s new website at www.maringarden.org for details.
When the Center reopens, it will once again be open to the public seven days a week. MAGC is home to the Ross Valley Players, the Studio art gallery and The Shop, formerly known as the Laurel House antique store. The playground at Pixie Park remains under construction.
“The Ross Valley Players have been in The Barn (the theater) for more than 75 years and they are ready to return,” Adezio said.
The operators of the Laurel House were ready to close shop after a 10-year run and handed the keys to the Art & Garden Center. Rebranded as The Shop, it will offer home and garden items and vintage pieces for sale as an additional revenue stream for MAGC.
The Studio has reopened, according to Adezio, and currently features an exhibit entitled “Rooted in Wonder.”
“MAGC has always been and continues to be a haven of calmness and beauty during unsettled times. The gardens provide me with a source of peace; a refuge from all the anxiety that goes on in our daily lives” said Katie Jarman, a Marin Garden Club member. “Thanks for keeping it alive and maintained especially now when we need it more than ever.”