Members Reception: Legacy Parks in a Changing City

This past Tuesday, John Alschuler, Chairman of HR&A Advisors spoke to Friends members at our annual Members Reception at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston. John Alschuler gave an excellent and thought-provoking presentation entitled Sustaining Excellence: Legacy Parks in a Changing City. The capacity crowd was very engaged and asked John many interesting questions after his presentation. Attendees enjoyed meeting new friends and catching up with old ones at the reception after the program.

If you were unable to attend, the entire program is available to watch on YouTube. The presentation slides are here.

Continue reading “Members Reception: Legacy Parks in a Changing City”

Summer Party 2016: It’s all about the parks!

The Friends annual Summer Party benefitting our work on the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Mall. A sold out crowd of over 225 people enjoyed socializing with excellent drinks and hors d’ouevres taking in the view from the famed Taj Rooftop overlooking Boston’s iconic parks. The Friends would like to thank First Republic Bank for their sponsorship.

Continue reading “Summer Party 2016: It’s all about the parks!”

May is Membership Month


Friends of the Public Garden Offers Incentive to Join during Membership Month!

The Friends of the Public Garden has launched a spring membership drive with an enticing incentive to bring in new members. Anyone who joins the Friends by Wednesday, May 25th will be entered into a drawing to win Dinner for Four at Toscano.

As part of Membership Month, the Friends will host a wine and cheese reception in the Friends office at 69 Beacon Street on Wednesday, May 25th, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.  The drawing for the Toscano prize will take place at the end of the May25th reception. Those who cannot attend the reception can also be entered into the drawing by joining online before May 25 at or by mail by calling 617-723-8144 for a membership form. Membership starts at only $25. Reservations for the reception are required due to limited space. Please RSVP to 617-723-8144 or

A membership organization open to all, the Friends was founded in 1970 by concerned citizens. It works closely with the Boston Parks Department to protect and enhance Boston’s three historic parks: the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. For more than four decades, the Friends has funded the expert care of trees and plantings, the maintenance and restoration of sculptures and fountains, and major improvement projects like the Brewer Fountain Plaza renovation. It has been a staunch advocate to protect the parks from misuse and encroachment.  This has all been accomplished thanks to the support of the Members.

For more information about the Friends of the Public Garden visit

Successful 46th Annual Meeting


A record-breaking, standing room only crowd of almost 200 were welcomed to the 46th Annual Meeting of the Friends by board chair Anne Brooke and vice-chair Colin Zick.



Attendees listened appreciatively to a powerful presentation by Liz Vizza, Executive Director, celebrating the Friends work in 2105 to continue the care and preservation of trees, sculpture, and turf in the three parks. Her remarks also highlighted the success in creating a dynamic park space at Brewer Plaza, continuing renovations of the Boylston Street border in the Garden, and the upcoming restoration of the fountain at the George Robert White Memorial.  Liz praised the hard work of the volunteer Rose Brigade and announced the creation of a new volunteer Border Brigade while reminding the attendees of the upcoming fun and engaging public programs, Duckling Day and Making History on the Common.  She shared that a Boston Common User Analysis survey will be taking place through the fall, providing real numbers about who, how and when people use the Common and what park users’ needs and issues are.



Advocacy for the parks is crucial, the threats are real and involve public safety, proposed building development on Tremont Street that exceeds the zoned height limit and could set a dangerous precedent, as well as the need to increase funding for the Boston Parks Department.  Liz commended the Department’s hard work to keep the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Mall healthy and beautiful.


The Annual Meeting served as the occasion to introduce the Henry and Joan Lee Sculpture Endowment in honor of the Lees’ legacy of commitment to the parks and their sculpture. The fund’s mission will be to provide for the long-term care for 42 pieces of public art in the Common, Garden, and Mall, the largest concentration of public art in the city. Regular annual maintenance prevents much more costly restoration.

In keeping with the sculpture theme, David Dearinger from the Boston Athenaeum gave a fascinating presentation about the Common, Garden, and Mall as “Museums Without Walls” and the history of the sculpture in the three parks.  Reminding the attendees about the legacy of outdoor art, Dr. Dearinger shared the little-known history of some of the important pieces of sculpture.


The evening concluded with a reception where longstanding and new Friends enjoyed the opportunity to meet.

Photos: Michael Dwyer



Introducing the Henry and Joan Lee Sculpture Endowment

At the 46th Friends of the Public Garden Annual Meeting on April 13, Chair, Anne Brooke will announce the creation of the Henry and Joan Lee Sculpture Endowment in honor of the Lees’ legacy of commitment to the parks and their sculpture. The fund’s mission will be to provide for the long-term care for 42 pieces of public art in the Common, Garden and Mall, the largest concentration of public art in the city. Regular annual maintenance prevents much more costly restoration.  William Lloyd Garrison should never be green again.

David Dearinger, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at The Boston Athenaeum will be giving a presentation “Museums Without Walls: The Sculpture Collection of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall .”  The Annual Meeting is Wednesday, April 13 at 5:00 p.m. at First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street.  Reception to follow.  Kindly RSVP by April 6. 617-723-8144 or




Parks: Cornerstones of Civic Revitalization

The Friends of the Public Garden is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the following event. 


America’s Best Idea: Fairsted, the Olmsteds and Our National Parks
Parks: Cornerstones of Civic Revitalization

The quality of park systems has long been a measure of a healthy and functional society. Our national parks represent a democratic, and increasingly uncommon, commitment to the common good. This talk will focus on how the tradition of public park making initiated by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s seminal Yosemite Report in 1865 continues today as an expression of national and community ideals.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
6:00pm Reception | 7:00pm Lecture
Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA
Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Reserve online or 617-566-1689, ext. 265

Rolf Dimant lecture

Rolf Diamant is a writer, historian and adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Rolf enjoyed a 37-year career with the National Park Service as a landscape architect, planner, and park manager. He served as superintendent of Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and was the first superintendent of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, a national park that tells the story of conservation, the evolution of land stewardship and the emergence of a national conservation ethic. As liaison with the National Parks Second Century Commission, he helped re-think the value and function of national parks in a changing world. He is past president of the George Wright Society and his column, “Letter from Woodstock,” addressing the future of national parks, appears regularly in the society’s journal. Copies of A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks (George Braziller, 2016) edited by Mr. Diamant and others, will be available for sale and signing by the author.

Thinking Persons GuideA Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks is a guidebook like no other. In twenty-three essays, richly illustrated with more than 350 color photographs, authors with personal and professional connections to the national parks share their deep and invaluable knowledge. This book illuminates the astonishing diversity of America’s more than 400 national parks, bound together into a single national park system that expresses and preserves the nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage.