Sturt Haaga Gallery

Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects
Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects

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; Heather and Paul Haaga; and the Pasadena Art Alliance.


Gallery hours and admission

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm daily.

Admission: Free with admission to the Gardens.

Current and Past Exhibits

SHIKI: The Four Seasons in Japanese Art
February 18 to
May 21, 2023
Your (Un)natural Garden
April 16, 2022 to
January 8, 2023
Full Circle: A Return to the Land
November 13, 2021 to
March 13, 2022
Castle Garden
June 28 to
September 19, 2021
fruiting bodies
November 18, 2019 to
April 5, 2020
Shine a Light
July 15 to
October 27, 2019
Unusual Views
February 11 to
June 9, 2019
La Reina de Los Ángeles
September 17, 2018 to
January 13, 2019
Growing Habitat
May 21 to
August 19, 2018
Beyond the Bouquet
January 22 to
April 22, 2018
ELEMENTAL | Marking Time
August 14 to
December 3, 2017
Read More
Portraits of the Garden 2: BLOOM!
March 4 to
May 28, 2017
Creating Culture | Sharing Community
October 15, 2016 to
January 29, 2017
Read More
May 17 to
August 28, 2016
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September 13 to
December 6, 2015
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California Light
May 3 to
August 2, 2015
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