Garfield Park Conservatory

Fleurotica isn’t your average fashion-show fundraiser.

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance (GPCA) puts on a stunning annual fashion show featuring attire made from natural plant materials by local designers to create a world of wonder. The wearable art raises money so that the Conservatory can continue its arts and other community-enrichment programs in the beautiful facility that anchors the diverse surrounding community.

The GPCA itself is as innovative as the fashion show. Organized only 15 years ago, this public-private initiative rescued and renovated the badly damaged Conservatory, bringing new life to the community. “It’s like people are rediscovering the west side [of Chicago] all over again,” says Eunita Rushing, President of GPCA.

It now facilitates the flowering of education, health, cultural arts, housing, and business and workforce development programs in the surrounding diverse and sometimes chaotic community. “People don’t get outdoors or engage in nature enough anymore,” she says. “We want to change that.”

The mission of Garfield Park Conservatory and GPCA is to be a free, beautiful facility with outstanding programs that encourage visitors to engage with science, nature, plants and conservation and to help transform the surrounding community.

This collaborative effort creates artistic opportunities for professionals, funds community programs, and grows the network of support for a beloved institution. It’s a winning relationship with art as the connective tissue.

“We are really hopeful that individuals will make an investment in who we are, what we do and how we serve the community, too,” Rushing says.

Make It Better is proud to be a media sponsor of Fleurotica 2014, coming in June, as well as the Beer Under Glass event May 15.

Garfield Park Conservatory By The Numbers

  • 5,000 varieties of plants, including about 71 species of palm trees, 65 other species of trees, 236 species of ferns, and 500 species of cacti and succulents
  • More than 160,000 visitors to the Conservatory each year

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