A Note from Jamie Maslyn Larson, Tohono Chul’s New Executive Director

February 23, 2022

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

It has been just three short weeks since I started my position as Executive Director of Tohono Chul, and I am buzzing with excitement! There is much to learn, colleagues and members to visit with, and places to explore. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms. I am grateful for everyone’s kindness (and patience!) as I onboard. You have made Tohono Chul the beautiful desert oasis it is, and I cannot thank you enough. Before summer’s heat is upon us, I invite you to visit and experience all the gardens have to offer. Enjoy these highlights of recent and upcoming activities:

  • Roy Kurtz’ generosity made it possible for you to see the amazing Roy J. Kurtz Collection of American Indian Art in our Main Gallery through April 27. This survey of baskets provides the first look at this large collection of artworks from the Desert Southwest. The collection shines light on the rich traditions of the region’s Indigenous people, whose respect for these lands allows Tohono Chul to be here today.

  • During a gorgeous February weekend, we hosted the Southern Arizona Clay Artists show, which brought hundreds of visitors to see the gallery quality, functional, and decorative ceramics created by over 25 artists. If you couldn’t make the event, I encourage you to see the other work by local artists that we have available in our Museum Shops on-site.

  • Behind the scenes, we are preparing for our spring Sundays in the Garden concert series, which will launch on March 6. At this first concert, both Christine Conte, the garden’s Executive Director for the past ten+ years, and I will be sharing the stage for some short remarks about the past and future of Tohono Chul.

  • And—drumroll please—we are thrilled to be busy potting and organizing for the Spring Plant Sale. Our Members’ Preview begins on March 16 with March 19 and 20 open to the general public.

I’ve been a visitor of Tohono Chul for decades, and, having grown up in the Phoenix area, have always valued exploring the unique Sonoran Desert beauty of our region. But when I walk around the gardens today in the role as Executive Director, I am deeply thankful for your support and humbled by the responsibility that we have—yes, I said that we have—in carrying forth the Wilson’s legacy.

Today, the Wilson’s legacy is more relevant than ever to share with our community, and indeed, the world. Over the last few years, many people have turned to nature for inspiration, solace, stress release, and to gather together in open space. As a premier public garden that merges nature, art and culture, Tohono Chul has a meaningful role in supporting the health and vitality of our community and our region. With your continued support, I see an opportunity to grow our community of stewards, enhance the garden’s experiences and offerings, and continue to shine light on the challenges facing our region’s ecosystem, just like the Wilson’s did in 1982. Thank you for your love and stewardship of this incredible public garden. I cannot wait to grow it with you.

Warm regards,

Jamie Maslyn Larson FASLA

Executive Director