Submitted by Hilltop Artists
Everyone is invited to Hilltop Artists’ and Arts Connect’s inaugural Garden Gather—a Sunday afternoon of food, wine, creative fun, and garden tours at the grand private estate, Edgewood Garden, on July 24.
Guests who come to enjoy the vibrant themed gardens will help celebrate the work of Arts Connect, a community-based program run by Hilltop Artists that offers art classes and a friendly community to girls who are involved with Pierce County Juvenile Court.
Garden Gather will take place 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Edgewood Garden, a private 32-acre estate, a half-hour’s drive east of Tacoma. The elegant grounds feature themed spaces, including bird-filled woods, rose gardens, a lavender-edged labyrinth, garden sculptures, and contemplative Asian settings. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the Hilltop Artists website. Tickets will be available at the event, but guests are strongly encouraged to make their purchase in advance.
The afternoon will include garden tours led by master gardeners, music, an invitation to participate in lawn games and creative art activities, a raffle, an opportunity to meet and hear from one of Arts Connect’s young women, and a tempting menu of wine and appetizers. Many of Hilltop Artist’s dedicated supporters and community leaders from across the county are expected to attend.
The fundraising event to support the work of Arts Connect is hosted by the Arts Connect Giving Circle, Hilltop Artists, and Ilga Jansons and Michael Dryfoos, who created Edgewood Garden over the past 12 years from a property once covered in lawn and blackberry bushes. The property is centered by a large Northwest Contemporary style house with a stunning view of Mount Rainier. Jansons also developed a studio on the property where she creates quality handspun yarn for knitting and hand-painted roving for spinning and felting.
Arts Connect has been a Hilltop Artists’ program for eight years; they operate a year-round program for girls aged 12 – 19 who are involved with Pierce County Juvenile Court. Arts Connect is a culturally responsive program for adolescent girls, who live predominantly in poverty, and who have a history of unstable and stressful home environments characterized by physical/psychological mistreatment or abuse.
The program offers 10-week sessions in glass, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and other art forms, taught at community sites by a team including professional artists. Art making is paired with group discussions and writing about identity, society, and healthy lifestyles, and a family-style dinner is served. Mentors help with homework and chat to the girls about their lives and work.
Arts Connect supports girls in developing healthy ways to express themselves, discover unexpected strengths and abilities, practice new behaviors and increase their capacity to make positive contributions to the community. Through this foundation, girls decrease their sense of disenfranchisement and gain social, behavioral, and leadership skills, resulting in a significant reduction of recidivism.
By harnessing the power of art, Arts Connect serves to fulfill our mission by enabling some of our community’s most disconnected and struggling young women to form the positive attitudes and behaviors they need to become leaders, while also developing skills critical to their success: teamwork, positive social interactions, leadership development and civic engagement.
The Arts Connect girls create works that are showcased at regular public exhibits and educate their audiences about their individual life journeys. They also decide as a group which nonprofit will be the recipient of their artworks or the proceeds from the works’ sale.
Volunteer, partnering, and philanthropic opportunities for members of the community who would like to be a part of Arts Connect are available on the Arts Connect website.