This year marks the 90th anniversary of the George Robert White Memorial Fountain, which locals and visitors often refer to as “The Angel.”
Located in the Public Garden near the corner of Beacon and Arlington streets, the sculpture and fountain honors one of Boston’s greatest benefactors. When White died in 1922, his will included a charitable trust for public art, with $50,000 set aside for his own memorial. Erected in 1924, the memorial is the last of the many collaborations by the sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon. The fountain has been inoperable since the early 1980s.
It seems that “The Angel” has a few guardian angels of its own. The Friends of the Public Garden is scheduled to host its Green & White Ball on Friday, May 16, at the Taj Boston hotel. When this year’s event committee heard about the needs of this particular memorial, they decided that they wanted to allocate $250,000 of the funds raised from the 2014 event to restore the George Robert White Memorial Fountain.
“It is wonderful to know that attendees of the 2014 Green & White gathering will be supporting our treasured greenspaces as they have done for the past 16 years,” said Friends President Anne Brooke. “It is especially exciting that a significant amount of funds raised that evening will be used to restore the Robert White Memorial Fountain to its former glory.”
The Green & White raises funds to provide care for the Public Garden, Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This has been the mission of the Friends since its inception more than 43 years ago, in partnership with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Contributions from events like the Green & White enable the organization to perform tree care, restore and maintain statues and fountains and restore turf, ensuring that the critical natural and structural features of the parks receive the vital care that they need. The Friends also conducts major improvement projects like the $4 million renovation of the Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common. The Friends encourages citizen advocacy, speaking out for protection against park misuse and encroachment, and sponsors educational park programs and family events.
“Attendees of last year’s Green & White, and other generous donors, supported the much-needed renovation of the Brewer Fountain Plaza area on the Common, which has quickly become one of the most popular social hubs in Boston in during warmer months,” said Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza.
In 2013, the Green & White was attended by 200 guests, and raised just under $400,000. The committee pledged $250,000 in a matching challenge for the Brewer Fountain Restoration Project, which helped to raise the funds needed for the scheduled completion of this project in 2014. The work has transformed the busy southeast corner of the Boston Common, creating a vibrant urban gathering spot with café tables and chairs, quality food, lunchtime piano music, chess and checkers, a reading area and weekly summer jazz concerts. In addition, the adjacent Liberty Mall has been enhanced by planting new trees, restoring turf, repairing paths, and installing new curbing.
Honorary co-chairs of the 2014 Green & White are Mrs. Peter A. Brooke, Mrs. Eugene Doggett and Mrs. Amos B. Hostetter, Jr. Co-chairs of the event are Alli Achtmeyer, Alexis Eagan, Annsley McAleer and Katherine O’Keeffe. The ball will include a cocktail reception, dinner, and dancing to the sounds of the Sultans of Swing.
For more information about the Friends or the Green and White Ball visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org