The National Park Foundation has announced that Artist Dan Fenelon and the Arts Council’s Morristown High School Mentoring Program have been chosen to design and create the ornaments for New Jersey’s tree for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.. Dan Fenelon and the mentoring students join local artists and youth from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia who were selected to design and create 24 ornaments for their respective state or territory tree.
“It’s an honor to represent New Jersey because we are one of the original states. The first thirteen will always hold a special place in the heart of America,” said Dan Fenelon, project artist “We are excited to be part of the National Christmas Tree display because Christmas represents a time of giving and that is what the mentoring program is all about.”
Developed over seven years ago by the Arts Council of the Morris Area and Morristown High School’s art department, the after-school Mentoring Program provides underserved youth who are interested in post-secondary art training with an opportunity to create an art portfolio for college or art school applications. The program is currently funded through a generous donation from the Failla Foundation.
L-R: Mentoring students with some of the ornaments they created; Madison artist, Dan Fenelon (photo by Ellen Denuto).
“We are very pleased that Dan Fenelon and the Morristown High School Mentoring Program will represent New Jersey in this year’s National Christmas Tree display,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “This time honored tradition is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.”
Four weeks of holiday events in President’s Park will kick off with the 90th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The exact date of the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be announced in mid-October.
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. For ticket information and talent announcements, as well as other event details, please visit www.thenationaltree.org.