Southern Utah University Endowed Chair of Elementary Arts Education Carrie Trenholm has been selected to create the state tree ornaments for Utah to be featured at this year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting event hosted by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.
The event will be held on Thursday, December 9, at 5 p.m., on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.
A teacher in every sense, Trenholm chose to include local high school students in the creation of these ornaments to share what is most certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Together, Trenholm and the Canyon View High School teens created fused glass ornaments that represent the various wild flowers of Zion National Park and Kolob Canyon.
Of the experience, Trenholm said it was both exciting and renewing. Before joining the SUU faculty, Trenholm was a high school art teacher, and as she puts it, “that level of enthusiasm and energy was delightful to be around.”
Trenholm said she was “very impressed” with the Canyon View students. And above all, she appreciated their creativity and willingness to learn the new medium.
She adds, “The students were creative in deciding how to represent a specific flower and design the background. Each piece shows individual ideas and choices.”
Trenholm, who has been working with fused glass since 2004, has had her work displayed at the Springville Museum of Art, St. George Museum of Art, DeZion Gallery in Springdale, Blue Sage in Cedar City and, of course, the Braithwaite Gallery of Fine Arts on the SUU campus.
Trenholm worked with Canyon View High School art teacher Glen Lyman to guide 10 of Lyman’s top art students to create the ornaments that will hang in Washington D.C.
The students’ original designs are based on the photography of Helen Boswell, a biology professor at SUU.
Of the final product, Margaret Hunt, director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, said, “The ornaments Carrie created with the students of Canyon View High School are extraordinary and represent well the skill and creativity of Utah artists as well as paying tribute to the natural beauty to be found in Utah.”
This year, one artist and youth group were selected from each US state, territory and the District of Columbia to design and create 26 ornaments. Twenty-five of the ornaments will be hung from the state or territorial tree as part of the National Christmas Tree display on the Ellipse. One of the ornaments will decorate the White House Visitor Center Christmas tree which showcases each state/territory ornament.
“We are delighted to have SUU Professor Carrie Trenholm participating in this year’s National Christmas tree display,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “This event is a wonderful example of how our national parks connect us as a nation.”
As one of our country’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. 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, the Ellipse 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.