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Arkansas Children’s Hospital Artists in Residence Program Creates Arkansas’ Ornaments for 2011 National Christmas Tree Display

Ornaments from all 56 U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia to be displayed at the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. tonight

(LITTLE ROCK, AR.) Dec. 1, 2011 - The Artists in Residence Program at Arkansas Children's Hospitaldesigned and created the ornaments for Arkansas' tree in the 2011 National Christmas Tree display in President's Park in Washington, D.C., the National Park Foundation announced today.

A local artist and local youth were selected from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia to design and create 24 ornaments. Twenty-three of the ornaments will be hung from the state or territory tree as part of the National Christmas Tree display in President's Park. One of the ornaments will decorate the White House Visitor Center Christmas tree, which showcases one ornament from all 56 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

"The decorating of the state and territory trees in President's Park is a highly anticipated holiday tradition," said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation.  "We look forward to including the creations of artists at Arkansas Children's Hospital,representing your state during the 89 th annual celebration."

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. 

"It was inspiring to see the excitement on both the patients' and the family members' faces when they heard that their ornaments would be displayed in Washington, DC," said Elizabeth Weber, one of the ACH artists in residence who collaborated on the artworks. "It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to be a part of this project."

Patients from Arkansas Children's Hospital who helped create the ornaments were admitted with a variety of diagnoses ranging from cancers, blood disorders and heart defects to burns, diabetes and cystic fibrosis. Patients worked collaboratively with the ACH Child Life and Education staff in choosing materials and designs for the ornaments that allowed everyone to work on them regardless of age, disability or restrictions. Each ornament was made possible by the help of many different hands. The project was led by the Artists in Residence program at Arkansas Children's Hospital, which is funded by the Arkansas Arts Council.

Four weeks of holiday events in President's Park will kick off with the 89th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony hosted by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, today, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, at 5 p.m. EST. Talent announcements, as well as other event details and a live web stream of the ceremony will be available at  thenationaltree.org.  

ABOUT ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus spans 29 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 75 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System and its 395 National Park sites for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.  The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov.      

 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world's most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America's nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. 

    
Join us - This is Your Land. www.nationalparks.org
FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark
TWITTER http://twitter.com/goparks

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