Sturt Haaga Gallery

Sturt Haaga Gallery

Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects

Current exhibition
Past exhibitions

Welcome to the Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens. Opened in the fall of 2011, the gallery was created by restoring Mr. Boddy’s original garage, located near the entrance to his house in the southeast corner of his property, and then doubling it in size with the addition of a contemporary building nestled into the hillside behind the structure. 

The Sturt Haaga Gallery was conceived as an important addition to Descanso’s education mission. Programming in the gallery derives from and seeks to illuminate the intersection between contemporary arts and the sciences represented by the garden — botany, horticulture, biology, ecology, conservation, and the study of gardens as cultural artifacts. Three shows of three months’ duration each are presented in the gallery. In addition to the exhibitions themselves, further education and enrichment programs are also often offered. 

About the Gallery 

Architecture by Frederick Fisher & Partners, Architects of Los Angeles. The design concept was to create a composition of both the historic and the contemporary, as seen elsewhere on the Descanso property. The project completed the renovation and restoration of the historic Boddy House and surrounding areas (2007-2008). 

The gallery consists of about 1,500 square feet of floor space and over 300 linear feet of wall space, arranged in three complementary gallery spaces — two fashioned from the original garage structure and a third in the new structure featuring 12-foot-high ceilings for the display of larger works. The two components are connected by the Erskine Garden, a site flexible enough to be used for the display of sculpture and for various events. Materials, finishes, technologies, and construction processes were consistent with the highest standards for sustainable design and operation. View floor plan.

The signature exterior features of the gallery building are two large vertical gardens, which offer an unusual perspective on plants, horticulture and design in keeping with the gallery’s mission of presenting shows that challenge and inspire visitors to think about the gardens surrounding them in new ways. A small garden of native plants on the roof of the new addition provides visitors who take the steps up the hillside to Hope’s Garden with a nice surprise, and the building below it an energy-saving rooftop. 

Funding for the gallery came entirely from private, community sources. With a lead gift of $2.1 million from Heather Sturt Haaga and Paul G. Haaga, Jr., of La Cañada Flintridge, additional funding was provided by The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation of Los Angeles, Georgianna and Paul Erskine of Pasadena, and a number of additional individual and foundation supporters. 

About the Exhibition Program 

The Sturt Haaga Gallery presents three exhibitions per year of contemporary artists’ work that responds to and elucidates nature, natural processes and communities, ecology, biology, botany, horticulture, garden design and history, and other subjects relevant to its botanical garden setting. Exhibitions are typically group shows of work responsive to a curatorial theme or idea proposed by the Descanso Gardens Curatorial Advisory Committee, consisting of garden staff, trustees, and art experts from the surrounding community. 

Each exhibition usually includes a specially conceived education or enrichment activity for children. 

Significant funding for programming in the Sturt Haaga Gallery has been provided by Richard Carlson and Erin Maclean Culley of Los Angeles; the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Mindy and Gene Stein of La Cañada Flintridge; and the Pasadena Art Alliance. 

Gallery hours and admission: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm daily. Admission to the gallery is free with admission to the Gardens.