By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing music at 5 years old.

Pablo Picasso’s artistic prowess was recognized before he turned 13.

Not every young child has what it takes to become a famous composer or artist. However, since 1990, members of the Garden Hills Elementary Parent Teachers Association (PTA) have been dedicated to seeing that every child at the school is exposed to the arts.

Every year since 1990 the members of the PTA have staged an “Evening in the Garden” fundraising event to benefit the school’s arts program. The first year, the event raised $8,000. Last year’s event raised about $30,000 that went to the school’s fund for cultural arts programming.

The 21st annual “Evening in the Garden” will be held on Saturday, April 24, at the Peachtree Park home of Tom and Andrea Radtke, 3126 Peachtree Drive.

The event runs from 6:30 to 11 p.m. and features food from popular area restaurants, beer and wines, and both a silent and live auction of a couple of hundred items, including gift items, vacations, home and garden décor items, services donated by local merchants, tickets to cultural events and meals at local restaurants.. Tickets in advance are $25 and are $30 at the door.

Traditionally, the event attracts a couple of hundred residents from the neighborhoods of Peachtree Park, Garden Hills, Peachtree Heights, Martin Manor and Pine Hills, all of which feed students to the Garden Hills Elementary School.

As an example of programs made possible by Evening in the Garden, funds raised at last year’s event allowed more than 500 students, some as young as 5 years old, to experience Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” as interpreted by the Georgia Shakespeare Theater.

This year the school began a new partnership with The Atlanta Opera (TAO), which brought its 45-minute opera “The Ugly Duckling” to the Garden Hills Elementary campus in March. A study guide provided by TAO’s education department helps teachers tie the lessons in the performance to lessons in the classroom.

For more information, visit the Web site www.eveninginthegarden.com or call 404-233-9051.