Arsenal Gallery Features WREATH INTERPRETATIONS, 12/9-1/6


Parks & Recreation is pleased to present the 28th annual Wreath Interpretations exhibition, a holiday tradition at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park.  It will open to the public on Thursday, December 9 and remain on display through January 6, 2011.  Among the fine artists, horticulturalists, and other creative souls who have created this year's wreaths are artist Jennifer Cecere, the Horticultural Society of New York, and Parks' Monument Conservator John Saunders.
"Tis the season, and once again the halls of the Arsenal Gallery are decked with interpretative wreaths created by the city's artistic spirits," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  "This year's collection celebrates a cherished holiday tradition and we thank the artists for putting their creative spin on this timeless circular form."

This year's exhibition offers an eclectic collection of 31 wreath interpretations, from classic Victorian to contemporary styles.  More traditional wreaths are made from an organic base of classic evergreens, potpourri and preserved greens, while other artists used more modern, artistic materials, such as laser-cut wooden figures, soldered metals, and a taxidermy jaw for a 32-foot long sea serpent.  This year, artists have approached a number of different themes including AIDS awareness, Franken-Fish, political conditions in Venezuela, the safety of Asiatic black bears, and the truce between warring countries during World War I.

The individuals and groups who produced the pieces are:  Carolyn Antonucci-Almeida, Jennifer Cecere, Angelyn Chandler, Gabriela Cisneros, John Clark, Oliver Corwin, Edward Gormley, Parks Department Grants Unit, Judith Hoffman Corwin, Larry Hagberg, the Horticultural Society of New York, Anastasia Ionkin, Vilde Kleppe Braanaas, Lea Mairet, Abigail Malate, George Kroenert, Karen Overton and Bob Mitchell, Richard Pean, Wendy Popp,  Randall's Island Sports Foundation, Eileen Remor, Leonora Retsas, John Saunders, AdrIan Smith, Michiko Shimojou, Amie Uhrynowski and David Carlson, Barbara Wallace, Takeshi Yamada, Madeline Yanni, Audrey Zeidman and Deborah Zingale.
Today the word "wreath" most often invokes thoughts of the holiday season and round boughs of evergreens.  Historically, they were used as a sign of importance and victory.  In ancient Rome, wreaths were worn on the heads of leaders, much like a crown.  The Greeks placed wreaths on the heads of the winning athletes at the first Olympic Games.  During the winter, ancient Germanic peoples placed evergreen boughs in a circle to indicate life through the winter.  But whatever form the wreath may take, including those of nontraditional materials, it symbolizes life and hope for the winter and the holiday season.
The exhibition was organized by Parks & Recreation's Public Art Coordinator Jennifer Lantzas and will be on display through January 6, 2011.  Many of the wreaths are for sale with a portion of the sales benefiting Parks programs.
The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history.  It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street.  Gallery hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Admission is free.  For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8163.

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