Christmas trees on display at JCA

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2019

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The magnitude of the Christmas Tree Extravaganza at the Johnson Center for the Arts cannot be measured in feet and inches. It must be measured by the joy it brings to people of all ages.

Charles Walker sat quietly and enjoyed the towering Christmas trees that fill the JCA’s upper gallery with the magic and wonder of the Christmas season.

For Walker, the towering, brightly and gaily decorated Christmas trees are not like any Christmas trees he remembers as a boy.

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“That was a bad time for people back then,” Walker said. ��If we had a Christmas tree, and I remember one, we went to the woods and cut a tree from a pine stand. And, for Christmas, if we got an apple or two and an orange, that was a big Christmas.’

Walker said he gets great joy from watching the children who visit the Christmas Tree Extravaganza.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch the kids as they hunt for the ornaments they made for their school’s tree,” he said. “The Christmas trees at the center bring in a lot of people. Family members come with the kids. The Christmas trees are worth all the time and effort it takes to get them up for people to see and enjoy.”

Wiley White, JCA exhibition coordinator, said the art center’s Christmas Tree Extravaganza is one of the JCA’s most popular exhibitions.

“Who doesn’t love a Christmas tree,” White said. “And, the JCA’s Christmas trees are very special because they are decorated by students in schools in Pike County and sponsored by local businesses.”

White said the 2019 Christmas Trees include a towering 20-foot Christmas Tree sponsored by Horn Beverage and decorated by students in the Troy City Schools.

Schools that decorated trees for Christmas 2019 are Banks, Goshen, Covenant Christian and Pike Liberal Arts.

Tree sponsors are KW Plastics, Troy Cable, Horn Beverage and Piggly Wiggly.

The Christmas Tree Extravaganza also includes a Chrismon Tree which is sponsored by Jo Harvell and her family.

White said the Chrismon tree symbolically tells the story of Christmas and the real reason for the season.

“Chrismons are ornaments made from Christian symbols,” she said. “The torch represents Jesus who is the Light of the World. The manger Chrismon is symbolic of the humble beginnings of the Savior of the World.”

Fish represent Jesus’ call to Peter and John to follow him and will make them fishers of men. The shepherd’s staff represents Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and the Alpha and Omega symbols represent the Beginning and the End. There are many Chrismons and each has a story to tell about the Baby Jesus who was born on Christmas Day.

Also on the JCA’s upper gallery in the Tile Gallery is the late Susan Berry’s Nut Cracker collection which is now a permanent collection of the JCA.

The Challenge 14 Exhibition is featured in the JCA lower gallery. The exhibit features artwork of nine Pike County artists and several from the Wiregrass and River regions and also from Florida and Georgia.

The Johnson Center for the Arts will be open on a limited schedule during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The arts center be open today and Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and until 3 p.m. on Saturday.  The JCA will be open on Saturday, December 28, and on January 3 and 4, during museum regular hours.

Admission to the JCA is free and the arts center is aglow with holiday spirit.