The Rockford Area Arts Council’s ArtsPlace program was selected to create ornaments for the National Tree Lighting Ceremony. Marco Basurto, sculpture artist worked with youth who had been in the program last summer and they created over twenty ornaments, one of which is on the National Tree. The others decorate a smaller state of Illinois tree.
We were thanked for creating the ornaments and given two tickets to attend the ceremony, but we had to pay for travel, hotel, food, etc. If resources were plentiful, we would have sent people but that is not the case. We did the next best thing. A former ArtsPlace apprentice, Erika Carroll, is a sophomore at Howard University located in Washington DC. David Hawthorne, also from Rockford and a student at Howard participated in the first “Poetry Out Loud” regional competition the Arts Council coordinated. They made the perfect people to represent Rockford.
Here’s what Erika said about the event:
“The National Tree Lighting Ceremony was a real treat. Everyone in the audience was extremely friendly and shared several jokes about the freezing weather and the silly quirks in the show. The announcers called it behind the scenes, “T.V. Magic,” when the same announcements were made multiple times and the audience was instructed to re-applaud a performance. However, it was truly an honor to be there first hand as the President and First Family arrived on stage. It was really special to be able to see them in person and be a part of such a rich tradition with the White House as a back drop. Though the edited T.V. version may have been more glamorous, being able to say I was there when it all happened is something I will hold on to forever.”
The National Tree…our ornament is there somewhere.
Many thanks to Marco and the ArtsPlace Apprentices!!!
Thank you Erika Carroll and David Hawthorne, for braving the cold and taking great pictures.