New tent gives Leach Gardens a unique event space

Find how some enterprising volunteers raised the money needed to purchase this new structure, and why they say worked so hard to finance it …

Friends of Leach Botanical Garden Foundation volunteers Bev Law and Nan Finch show off the quilt that was raffled off to raise $808 to help buy the new event tent.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the “near meadow” of upper Leach Botanical Gardens stands a new twin-spire tent, ready for events. And, with the spring-like weather that’s been visited on outer East Portland this summer, many say that its arrival is just in time.

“We are unfolding ‘phase 1’ of our development project for the five acres in the upper garden,” explained the organization’s Executive Director, David Porter at the July 15 unveiling. “We think of this as our revival tent. We are symbolically saying that we have started on our way to making the garden much more usable for people in our community who want to hold classes and activities here.”

With 800 square feet of free-span space under this rectangular 20′ x 40′ tent, the structure can easily accommodate events hosting 50 to 60 people.

Leach’s Executive Director David Porter, art teacher Jane Nash, board chair Gay Greger, and volunteers George Taylor and Bev Law, watch as Nan Finch cuts the ceremonial ribbon dedicating the new events tent.

“Our first big undertaking here is our arts classes,” Porter said. “Artist Jane Nash is one of three artists offering classes. This tent made it easy to schedule them this summer.”

To raise funds for the $2,000 tent, the Friends of Leach Gardens held a quilt raffle – which so far has paid nearly half  the cost of the structure.

Betty Beranak draws the lucky ticket of the person who will win the quilt she made for the raffle.

“Our esteemed volunteer, Nan Finch, suggested that proceeds from our quilt raffle this year should go to support this tent,” Porter explained at the July 7 ribbon cutting ceremony. “Today, we pull the winning raffle ticket to see who will win the quilt. Regardless of who wins, the fact that so many people thought this project was worthy of support – it’s a very exciting day.”

It’s also an exciting day for Leach Gardens volunteer Ernie Francisco – winner of this year’s quilt raffle.

On August 3, 10, or 24, check out the new tent at the Pinot & Paint at Leach Botanical Garden events that run from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Learn painting nature scenes in a relaxed atmosphere – accompanied by a glass of wine in the magical summer evening light in the garden from instructor Jane Nash, an accomplished muralist and nature illustrator. Students will paint small canvasses using the garden as their muse, and with acrylic paint as their medium.

This class is for adults, and includes a glass of pinot gris or noir. Tickets are $40 each, or $35 for Leach Garden Friends members. Registration is required: call (503) 823-1671 or CLICK HERE to visit their website and then click on “Upcoming Events.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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