(Last UPDATED 10/19/2021) Description and review of the (Iva Gard) Shepard Garden and Arts Center, located at 3330 McKinley Boulevard in East Sacramento.
The Shepard Garden and Arts Center is home to numerous garden and art clubs – a place for garden and art clubs to both meet and hold club events.
I was aware that City of Sacramento support for the Shepard Garden and Arts Center had been dialed back dramatically during the last economic downturn, but I did not know the details. I decided to look into the issue more closely as I walked over to the recent exhibit and sale held by the Capitol City Bonsai Clubs, a collaboration of all four of Sacramento’s Bonsai clubs.
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A Bit of Background
The Shepard Garden and Arts Center was built in 1958. The building is a prime example of 1950’s mid-century modern architecture. The structure includes a dramatic roof-line, lots of large windows, and a huge two-sided flagstone fireplace. The beautiful outdoor patio is often utilized as part of indoor/outdoor garden events.
According to the Shepard Garden and Arts Center website, after opening in 1958 as the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, the Center was renamed in 1972 to honor Ira Gard Shepard. Ira Gard Shepard was a Sacramento Bee garden columnist who had served for many years as the president of the Center.
While the City of Sacramento Recreation and Parks Department owns the building, the Center is operated by the Board of Directors. The upkeep for the Center is funded by the clubs that use it – and the Friends of the Shepard Garden and Art Center (The Friends).
This arrangement is the result of an agreement two years ago in which the City of Sacramento restructured their support for the Center.
The Friends is a non-profit that was formed in 2001 to provide assistance to support the Center’s social and recreational functions. Membership is open to any interested person, group, or organization. Members pay annual dues and participate in fund raising events throughout the year.
According to the July-August CHAT Newsletter, the Center’s expenses last year exceeded income, and a modest reserve account is being used to make up the difference.
Favorite Garden Events
Living nearby, I often stroll over to the Center on weekends to enjoy the various (free) garden and art exhibits – and I occasionally walk away with a plant or two for my garden or home. I expect that many Sacramento residents do the same.
In addition to the Bonsai Show and Sale, some of my favorite garden events include the:
- Perennial Plant Sale
- Iris Show and Sale
- Rose Show and Sale
- Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale
- Geranium Show and Sale
- American Fuchsia Show and Sale
- Bromeliad Carnivorous Society Show and Sale, and
- California Native Plant Sale.
Arts related shows include the very popular Arts by Fire sale – held this past weekend. The annual Arts by Fire Show and Sale is held each Fall. It features handmade pottery, glass, sculpture and other works of art for sale – including jewelry.
To Sum Up
Thinking back on all the enjoyment I have experienced over the years, I have decided to join the Friends. An annual membership fee of $20 for an individual or $45 for a family seems like a bargain when you stop and think of it.
Check out the link to the July-August CHAT Newsletter above for more information on the annual Friends Membership Drive.
Also see related blog post: McKinley Park Renovations Complete
(11/27/2018) Iva Gard Shepard Garden and Arts Center Listed As An Individual Landmark on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources
Based on the recommendation of the Sacramento Preservation Commission, the Sacramento City Council recently listed the Iva Gard Shepard Garden and Arts Center an an Individual Landmark on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. The building met the criteria for listing for its association with important post-World War II development patterns in recreation, entertainment and as a locally important example of Mid-century Modern architecture.
The Sacramento Preservation Commission staff report backing the listing states (in part): “The Iva Gard Shepard Garden & Arts Center, in post-and-beam style, is a locally important example of Mid-century Modern architecture in Sacramento and was designed by notable Sacramento architect Raymond R. Franceschi. Mid-century Modern architecture is a more expressive style of modernism that contrasts with the earlier International style. The post-and-beam style is characterized by prominently displayed structural components, expressed through dramatic rooflines, clean and bold lines, wide overhanging eaves, recessed entryways, expanses of glass, and integration with the surrounding landscape due in part to “openness” in the design and use of glass and natural materials on both the interior and exterior of the building.”
Do you have a favorite event (or two)?
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