Gathering in the Garden Pavilion Project

Gathering in the Garden Tohono Chul Enriching Lives

“Beauty surrounds us.  But, often it takes being in the garden to help us to appreciate it”

Tohono Chul is at a crossroads. A critical point in its history.
People gather to socialize, work, play, learn—to build community. And community is critical to health and well-being.

This is why Dick and Jean Wilson  guarded this precious place for you. They worked from 1966 until their gift in 1985. They nurtured the garden. They turned away money from developers. They preserved and cared for the land. They dreamed of a place to educate, inspire—a place for people to gather and enjoy.

And for more than 30 years, the Wilson’s gift to you has not only been preserved, it has been enhanced, made safer, more accessible, more interesting, engaging, and inspirational.

But today, people are being turned away from Tohono Chul.

Spaces once designed for a single-family are crowded. Workshops, programs, retreats, family reunions, weddings, and social groups are being turned away. Nature, art and culture are not available to those who yearn for it.

A family home, courtyard or backyard is no longer adequate. Seniors, children, families, school classes, business professionals, artists, community groups, fitness sessions are turned away.

  • Art dusts off the soul… unless you cannot approach the sculpture.
  • Music lifts the spirits… unless you cannot hear the performance.
  • Culture deepens understanding… unless you cannot enter the exhibit.
  • Gathering builds community… unless you cannot get into the room.

Tohono Chul must be a home to all. In order to ENRICH LIVES there must be room. There must be good quality space to welcome visitors.



We are so excited to see Phase 1 of the Gathering in the Garden Pavilion Project near completion and it would not have been possible without your support. It is hard to believe that construction started only a few weeks ago with preparing the area and relocating vegetation for the solar panel-covered parking structures. As part of our conservation mission these panels will help offset our reliance on the grid by providing an eco-friendly alternative, allowing us to redirect the savings for other garden needs.

A Place to Gather in the Garden

Gathering in the Garden will be possible with the new pavilion.


Kids sprawled out, playing, creating, learning

Lovers toasting their wedding day with family and friends

Gardeners intent on learning about plants of the region

Patrons applauding a young jazz trio back from Carnegie Hall

Seniors out in the fresh air enjoying birds and blooms

The pavilion is a 4,744 square foot gathering place. It is a world-class architectural facility. It will provide shelter and protection, but it will be open to the grounds, integrated into the gardens. Designed for efficiency and conservation—its curved roof will harvest rainwater for the gardens. Energy from the sun will power fans, lights and heaters.

It will allow Gathering in the Garden for an audience of 420.  240 people can gather at tables to eat. Day or night, the space is flexible for meetings, children’s activities, concerts, theater, music, dance, classes, film, services or celebrations. It fills a space that is currently not in active use and preserves most of the existing plantings.

Your gift to the Gathering in the Garden will keep Tohono Chul warm and welcoming. You can ensure that ALL can gather in the garden.