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Sacramento’s community clubhouse could use your help

Sacramento’s clubhouse needs some helping hands.

Located in McKinley Park, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center depends on community volunteers. That starts with all the club members who use the center regularly. City owned, the center is operated by its board and funded by the clubs that use it along with the Friends of the Shepard Center.

Once a year, it gets a thorough cleanup and a full morning of TLC. From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 30, volunteers will tackle a lengthy to-do list.

“We’re in deep need of volunteers,” said Davis’ Jan Goehring, a center director. “The Shepard is running on a very tight budget without the resources to hire a crew to complete the tasks necessary to maintain our building and gardens.”

Built in 1958, the Shepard is not only a popular meeting place, but a midcentury treasure. Designed by Raymond Franceschi, the building is one of Sacramento’s best examples of 1950s architecture with a dramatic roofline, lots of windows and a massive flagstone fireplace.

“If you’re a lover of this midcentury modern building, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center needs you,” Goehring said. “It should be a lot of fun for volunteers, both seasoned and new to the Shepard. If you’ve never volunteered here, this would be a great first date.”

After opening as the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, it was renamed in 1972 in honor of Ira Gard Shepard, who served many years as the center’s president. A fuchsia specialist, she also wrote a garden column for 40 years.

Nearly 30 garden and arts clubs use the Shepard every month. According to the Shepard’s new website, the clubhouse serves groups dedicated to horticulture, flower arranging, conservation, history, antiques and the arts, including painting, photography, ceramics, metal work, weaving and more. It’s also available for rent for meetings and special occasions.

Under its current arrangement with the city of Sacramento, the center is responsible for its own upkeep. And that can be a lot of work.

On Saturday, volunteer assignments will be tailored to club specialties, Goehring said.

“Groups will be organized into inside or outside groups,” she explained. “You get to decide where you want to be. Our Shepard president (Ken Rothaus) will be fixing furniture, vice president John Foster will be spreading mulch in the Camellia Garden and doing other landscaping. The Bonsai Club will be working in the Japanese Garden.”

Clean-up Day will be followed by the Shepard’s biggest annual event – its Fall Sale. Next weekend (Oct. 7 and 8) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., almost all of the center’s clubs will offer plants, artwork, crafts and more. Admission is free.

Shoppers will find more than great deals. They’ll see a clean and sparkling center we all can enjoy.

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