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Ornaments to decorate tree in D.C.

  • Updated
Ornaments to decorate tree in D.C.

The National Christmas Tree is pictured with the White House in the background after it was lit on the Ellipse across from the White House in Washington last year.

A chance to have an ornament on the 2012 National Christmas Tree? Who wouldn’t jump at the honor to help design such decorations.

Arianne King Comer and Very Special Arts South Carolina have been selected to deliver 24 ornaments for the tree, and they are going to include community members in the project.

Every year, the National Park Foundation selects local artists and youths from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia to make the ornaments. Comer will be working with Stall High School students, Gregg Mathis Charter School students and area seniors and veterans to create the ornaments.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the artistic talent we have here in North Charleston, and we are delighted that our community will be representing our state in this year’s National Christmas Tree display,” added Marty Besancon, cultural arts director for North Charleston.

For those who are not familiar with Comer’s work, she’s a textile artist who has been working in time-honored natural dyes like indigo and using them to create works in many forms of fiber. Her works present African-American and Lowcountry scenes.

She will be leading a textile workshop 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 9 at the Felix C. Davis Community Center at Park Circle. Ornaments will be made using batik, quilting and other textile design processes.

Other local textile artists assisting with the workshop include Peggie Hartwell, Cookie Washington and North Charleston’s current artist-in-residence, Kristy Bishop. The workshop will be part of North Charleston’s Veterans Day celebrations.

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The ornaments will grace the national tree for four weeks of holiday events in President’s Park that will be kicked off with the 90th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation.

The first National Christmas tree near the White House was lit in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge, and presidents ever since have enjoyed flipping the switch. The tree lighting is carried on HGTV as part of its Christmas specials.

This year, the national tree will be new in its location. It is a replacement tree for the one that died in May, and has yet to be planted. October is the prime time for transplanting. The last tree, a 42-foot Colorado blue spruce, died of transplant shock after a year.

The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace are illuminated each evening from dusk until 11 p.m. through Jan. 1. Seasonal displays include a yule log, large-scale model train and Christmas manger.

The exact date of the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be announced later this month.

Those interested in participating in the tree ornament workshop should contact Julia Brown at 803-603-4450 or jbrown@arts.sc.gov before the workshop date, as space is limited.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at sharvin@postandcourier.com or 937-5557.

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