Few students are offered the chance to showcase their talents nationally, but this semester some of UAA’s finest art majors were selected to decorate Christmas ornaments to be hung on the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. One tree gets dedicated to each state in the country, and people of all talents get to participate. There is no specific theme that the ornaments must comply to, only that they use their skill to create something magical enough to bring cheer to Washington D.C. The trees and their ornaments are displayed in President’s Park in D.C. and will remain standing until the new year.
UAA’s fine arts department chair, Steve Godfrey, was able to choose certain students he believed were qualified and deserved the opportunity the most. Kendra Harvey, Samantha Momeyer, Shelsea Dodd, Jade Aldridge, Kelly McLaughlin, Levi Werner, Bryce Frederick and Alanna DeRocchi were all selected, and created beautiful ornaments to serve as representatives of our state, hung on the tree.
Since there was no specific theme, students were allowed to get creative with how they chose to decorate their ornaments.
Aldridge, a 23-year-old fine arts major with an emphasis in watercolor and ceramics, decorated three different ornaments for the National Tree. She decided to take a different approach to the concept behind her ornaments and wanted to address a more national issue, versus local.
“The ornaments I decided to paint are feminist icons from American history. I wanted to choose a more nationwide approach in terms of my ornaments because I think it is very important to see ourselves as one nation, not always as separate states. It’s cool to see what ways we can come together,” Aldridge said.
Rosa Parks is one of the few female icons that are featured on Aldridge’s ornaments, with two other’s featuring feminist icons as well.
Another UAA student who was able to decorate an ornament was Warner. He is a fine arts major as well and was chosen by Godfrey to be a part of this project. Warner decorated one ornament, using twigs from outside, spray painting them white and creating a spherical piece that went inside a clear ornament.
“When Steve came to me with this opportunity, I kind of knew right away what I wanted to do. I liked the idea of incorporating something that actually came from Alaska, an actual tangible item from our state, into the ornament. From there, I just rolled with it and ended up with the idea to use twigs. When you have all the ingredients for a recipe, it’s surprising how quick you can get to the final product,” Warner said.
Twelve ornaments in total were decorated by the students and sent off to Washington D.C. for the month. The opportunity to showcase one’s art to a nationwide audience is not something that comes around very often, and students were quick to take advantage of this event. President’s Park is decorated with ornaments made by artists all over the country, including a few from our very own campus as well.