President's Letter - Annual Report 2019
As visitors and supporters of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, we’re all familiar with that feeling we experience when we enter its spaces. As each of us is uniquely individual, that experience is also unique, be it subtle or dramatic.
Art has that effect on a person. And virtually every element at Meijer Gardens exudes some form of art – from the architecture imbued in the buildings, to the paintings that adorn its walls, to the sculptures that live on the acreage, to the horticulture that thrives throughout. Even the children’s garden and butterflies in the conservatory may be interpreted as art. And let’s not forget the music, which concert-goers flock to experience each summer!
Artists create their work intending permanence, to inspire for generations. An extension of these art forms is the observers who feel the grace and whimsy and power in the art and walk away embracing the ways in which they’ve been affected. The Gardens provides the magical space in which art, and visitors who are able to interpret it in their own way, converge. Surely, there is inspiration for everyone at Meijer Gardens.
Some 17 years ago, a boy named James Keane, Jr. stepped up at the age of nine and presented the late Fred Meijer with $70 from his own savings, becoming the Foundation’s youngest donor. James represents the third generation of supporters in his family; he’s the son of Jim and Amy Keane, who have both served on the Foundation Board – and the grandson of Ray Loeschner, Amy’s father, who helped establish Meijer Gardens and the Foundation.
James Jr. is in his mid-20s today, but his family’s story is just one of many that demonstrates how Meijer Gardens touches individuals, prompting them to share gifts to help sustain it. Through these gifts to the Foundation, donors actively participate in securing Meijer Gardens for future generations to cherish, to then also be so moved. This is art creating legacy.
At the Foundation, we are grateful to those who have embraced Meijer Gardens and all its art forms, thereby inspired to endow its permanence. May you and your loved ones continue to experience new inspiration each time you visit, and in giving to the Foundation, know you are creating a legacy and securing the same opportunities for generations to come.
With great appreciation,