Brunswick, Maine — Spindleworks, a nonprofit art center in Brunswick that provides supplies, studio and gallery space to over 40 artists with disabilities, has been chosen by the Maine Arts Commission to design and create the ornaments for Maine’s tree for the 2011 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park in Washington D.C., according to the National Park Foundation.
Each year, local artists and youth are selected from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia to design and create 24 ornaments. Twenty-three of these ornaments will be hung from the state or territory tree as part of the National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park. One of the ornaments will decorate the White House Visitor Center Christmas tree, which showcases one ornament from all 56 states, territories and the District of Columbia.
“The decorating of the state and territory trees in President’s Park is a highly anticipated holiday tradition,” said Neil Mulholland, president and chief executive officer of the National Park Foundation. “We look forward to including the creations of Spindleworks, representing Maine during the 89th annual celebration.”
As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Since 1923, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what now has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. In addition to the National Christmas Tree display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, such as the Santa’s Workshop, nightly holiday performances, a Yule log, nativity scene, and model train display.
“Spindleworks was a natural choice for a project of this scale,” said Maine Arts Commission Acting Director Darrell Bulmer. “The art center has an established reputation of producing artwork that has shown nationally and internationally. They also have tremendous experience orchestrating community projects, and this is a community event on the grandest stage.”
The Spindleworks artists are using a variety of techniques to decorate, embellish and fill the large plastic globes that form the basis of the decorations. Small sculptures are placed carefully inside of some, while the surfaces of others are painted; some contain drawings and even woven creations. Twenty-four of the 45 artists at the art center are busy creating these unique globes.
“It is an amazing honor and achievement for the artists of Spindleworks to be chosen to represent Maine” said Spindleworks Director Liz McGhee. “Not only will the globes portray the beauty of our state, they will also remind everyone of the diversity of the artistic community in our country. This is community inclusion on the national level.”
As a program of the Independence Association, Spindleworks provides supplies, studio and gallery space to more than 40 artists with disabilities. Artists range in age from 20-80 and work in a wide range of mediums including: painting, drawing, weaving, fiber and fabric arts, wood, sculpture, ceramics, poetry, performing arts, and new media. The Spindleworks artists have shown locally, nationally and internationally, and work regularly on commissions throughout the year.
Four weeks of holiday events in President’s Park will kick off with the 89th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony hosted by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. For more information, visit thenationaltree.org.