Press Release - Major Gifts Support Second Phase of Construction of The Huntington's Chinese Garden

February 28, 2014


SAN MARINO, Calif.—More than $11 million has been raised to date from local and international donors to support the second phase of construction of Liu Fang Yuan, the Chinese Garden at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The first phase of the garden opened in 2008. As two new pavilions and a rock grotto make their debut on March 8, several major gifts that helped fund these features merit special recognition. The donors who made these gifts—Judy Yin Shih and Joel Axelrod, Andrew and Peggy Cherng, and Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation—have added immeasurably to the beauty and cultural significance of this evolving garden through their important support. 


A $3 million gift from Judy Yin Shih and Joel Axelrod helped fund the newly completed Clear and Transcendent pavilion (Qing Yue Tai 清越臺), which will serve as a lakeside performance space. The gift is also supporting construction of a large adjoining courtyard, the Court of Assembled Worthies, now just getting under way. The couple, now living in Ashland, Ore., are retired from careers in health policy and medicine. They lived in San Marino from 2005 to 2011, when they first became involved with The Huntington. Shih volunteered as a docent in the Chinese Garden, and they actively participated in many of the institution’s intellectual and cultural offerings related to Chinese music, literature, and art. The Chinese Garden, says Shih, “is a place that has enriched our lives and so beautifully represents the best of Chinese culture and its heritage. We are thrilled for this opportunity to be part of a living legacy that can be enjoyed and shared with others.”


Andrew and Peggy Cherng have made a $1.5 million pledge supporting the creation of the Waveless Boat pavilion (Bu Bo Xiao Ting 不波小艇). With its distinctive architecture evoking a boat gliding across the water, it is one of the dramatic new focal points of the garden. The Cherngs, owners of the Panda Restaurant Group, are long-time respected leaders whose philanthropic involvement spans many communities, with an emphasis on support for youth in education and health. Andrew is a member of the influential Committee of 100 (a group of Chinese Americans who promote positive U.S.–China relations), and Peggy serves on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Los Angeles branch. They have long been engaged with the Chinese Garden project at The Huntington, having contributed generous support to both the first and second phases. “With this gift, we honor the culture and community of the Pasadena area that has given us so much to be thankful for,” says Peggy Cherng. “We are humbled to be part of this special place of beauty that continues to bring happiness to all those it serves.” The Cherngs have also supported a number of cultural events in the garden, including a 2011 production of the Chinese opera “Poet Li Bai” and the most recent Mid-Autumn Moon Celebration. 


A $1 million gift from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation helped fund the construction of the rock grotto, known as Lingering Clouds Peak (Liu Yun Xiu 留雲岫). Visitors strolling through the grotto pass under a cascading waterfall. Water and rocks are essential features of a Chinese garden, representing nature’s yin and yang—the ever-changing and the eternal. This is the second large-scale Annenberg contribution in support of the Chinese Garden; the first was a $1 million grant from the Foundation in 2006 as the first phase was just starting to take shape. While development of the Chinese Garden has been of particular personal interest to Wallis Annenberg, the Foundation has long supported The Huntington in other ways, as well. Among recent contributions were a $130,000 grant in 2012 to fund an immersive educational partnership with Esteban E. Torres High School in East Los Angeles and a $45,000 grant, also in 2012, made by the Metabolic Studio, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation, to support events surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.


In addition to these major gifts, the garden’s second phase of construction has also received generous support in the form of donated or discounted services. These donors include Air China, China Shipping (Group) Company, COSCO–China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, the Dedeaux Family and DART Trucking Company, the Lincoln Plaza Hotel, and Elizabeth Dong and Samuel Liu of SBT Bus Line.


Fundraising for the completion of the second phase remains a high priority. Planned features yet to come include a small gallery for displaying Chinese art, a poetry garden, a terraced court for penjing (a horticultural art similar to Japanese bonsai), and a hillside pavilion. About half of the $22 million needed to complete the project has been raised so far, thanks to the generosity of more than 200 donors in the United States and China.  


[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]



Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140,

Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260,


About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at


Visitor information

The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors with advance tickets on the first Thursday of each month. Information: 626-405-2100 or


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About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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