Denali National Park and Preserve Ornament Created by Fairbanks Artists Displayed on White House Christmas Tree
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
An ornament created for Denali National Park and Preserve by Kesler and MariannaWoodward of Fairbanks, Alaska is prominently displayed on this year’s official White House Christmas Tree. The tree is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations celebrating the theme of “Holiday in the National Parks.”
The 18-foot Frasier fir, located in the Blue Room of the White House, is adorned with handmade ornaments representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites. Each ornament was designed by an artist selected by the park.
The Denali National Park and Preserve ornament, entitled “Fire and Ice,” depicts its signature feature, Mount McKinley, the highest peak on the North American continent. The mountain and its surrounding lesser peaks are portrayed as seen in winter below a dazzling display of the aurora borealis or northern lights. The rendering of the aurora and mountains in beads not only captures the luminous quality of the snow-covered peaks and the aurora in the night sky, but pays homage to a medium used in the artwork of several of Alaska’s Native cultures.
Kesler Woodward is a renowned Alaskan painter, art historian and curator. He is currently Professor of Art, Emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he taught for two decades before retiring to paint full time in 2000. He was recruited in 2002 to assist Denali in establishing its Artist-in-Residence program, and continues to support, promote, and insure high quality arts programs in the park. Marianna Woodward is a pediatric physician, former ceramicist, and art dealer. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Alaska Natural History Association, the nonprofit partner of Alaska’s parks, forests, refuges and other public lands.
Did You Know?
Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.