By Misty DUPLESSIS
On Sunday, a kickoff fundraiser benefitting the Elliott Institute was held at one of Descanso Gardens’ most important garden, the Harvest Garden.
Artist and avid Elliott Institute supporter Mary McGinnis organized the school’s first art gallery, appropriately called “Art in the Garden,” inviting nearly one dozen artists to display their work.
An impressive 60 pieces of art including photography sessions were sold exceeding McGinnis’ goal and raising just over $20,000.
The Harvest Garden is an outdoor classroom where students with developmental needs can learn how to care for living things as well as learn why it is important to make good eating choices. On this day it acted as a perfect backdrop for the gallery.
McGinnis had wanted to help the Elliott Institute and got the idea to put on the art show after taking art lessons from fellow artist and Art in the Garden exhibitor Eva Margueritte.
“I wanted to do something for the Elliott Institute, it made such a difference for not just our son, but our whole family,” said McGinnis adding that the Harvest Garden had never been used for this kind of event.
Elliott Institute, located in La Crescenta, is a state-certified, non-public pre-kindergarten through high school that offers various services to children and young adults on the autism spectrum.
The school’s creator and director Dr. Alicia Elliott has over three decades of experience in dealing with the disorder, 21 of those years in which she has put her expertise to work helping students at the exceptional school.
“We provide a very structured, very hands-on approach to education,” said Elliott staff member Agi Patton adding that the school has a variety of therapeutic sessions with the students including gardening at Descanso Gardens.
Though Sunday’s event was not open to the public because of the special and well-protected garden in which it was held, it is estimated that approximately 350 people had the opportunity to be a part of this art show.
“We always talk about creating something from nothing and that’s what [Mary McGinnis] did today,” said event volunteer Candice Doi Powers. “I am just so happy for her.”