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Tucson Jewish Community Center aims for autumn Garden of Hope opening

Gan Tikvah, the Garden of Hope, is nearing completion at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. It will have a fluid connection to the current Sculpture Garden and provide a shady and tranquil pocket park for all seasons. It will offer an outdoor venue for classes, programming, and, with dramatic illumination, evening events for up to 100. An additional six sculptures will be installed and the garden will open in the autumn, says Khylie Gardner, the J’s director of marketing, communications, and public relations.

Cancer survivor Bonnie Sedlmayr-Emerson was the inspiration for the garden. Her husband Randy Emerson oversaw the project. “The garden celebrates the arts, which is important to the JCC spiritually, emotionally and cognitively,” the center’s CEO and president, Todd Rockoff, previously told the AJP.

The project, adjacent to the J Café, was funded through contributions made in support of this garden. “The campaign raised $285,000 which fully funds the effort,” says Rockoff, who adds that Kristi Lewis helped with funding and her family’s sculptures will decorate the garden.

Local artist Barbara Grygutis designed the garden. She is renowned for large-scale public artworks and sculptural environments throughout North America and internationally. Landscape architect Jennifer Patton of Wilder Landscape also is involved in the project, along with Tucson artists Lynn Rae Lowe and Tom Philabaum. Realm Environments is completing the construction.

“As we see the JCC as the community’s town square, and a place for the community to gather, this will be the town square of the JCC,” says Rockoff.