OMFA to present 45th Annual Holiday Forest Trees Festival

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November 6 – The Owensboro Art Museum’s 45th Annual Holiday Forest Trees Festival kicks off with a gala preview on Saturday, November 13.

The Festival of Trees is presented alongside the museum’s Art from the Heart exhibition, which features around 300 objects of folk and raw art. The artists featured in the exhibit are folk artists from the mid to late 20th century, including Howard Finster, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, and SL Jones, from the Southeastern States. Kentuckians including Edgar Tolson, Minnie and Garland Adkins, Ronald and Jessie Cooper, Charley and Noah Kinney, Tim Lewis and Denzil Goodpaster will also be represented.

The collection of items was acquired to showcase the diversity and creativity of contemporary artists and artisans working outside the academic tradition, said OMFA Executive Director Mary Bryan Hood.

“It’s a delightful display because it’s so light,” she said. “It’s a crowd pleaser, there’s no doubt about it. There will be something everyone will enjoy seeing.”

She said many of the pieces are humorous and seasonally focused, in that they have a religious theme.

The Tree Festival is one of Owensboro’s oldest vacation traditions. This year, it will showcase 18 ornamental Christmas trees that have been designed and decorated by artists, florists and local organizations. Special trees will be decorated to celebrate the folk art tradition and will be designed by the students of Allie Huffman’s Burns Middle School; the Owensboro Herbal Society; the Western Kentucky Basket Guild; and the parishioners of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, who created the “Crimson Tree” celebrating the origins of the season.

Four of the trees were designed specifically for the John Hampden Smith Decorative Arts Wing by Gary Tunget of Gary’s Fleur de Lis Florist. A variety of trees will be taken from the museum’s vacation collection and will include “Wreath Tree” by Mary Anderson Cayce and a group of “Goose Feather Trees” by JoAnne Hobbs, of Hodgenville, which are adorned with ornaments inspired by the Japanese origami art created by Mary Lou Steele.

Throughout the Holiday Forest Festival of Trees, there will also be participatory projects in ArtLand, the museum’s interactive studio for children. Ornaments for the ArtLand tree can be made, as well as ornaments for local children to take home.

The Holiday Forest Festival of Trees will run until December 31. The Art from the Heart exhibition will run until February 18, 2022.

The Holiday Forest gala and exhibition preview will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on November 13 at the museum. The gala will feature holiday cuisine and entertainment from the bluegrass band Kings Highway. Admission is $ 50 per person, reduced to $ 40 for Friends of the OMFA Foundation subscribers.

Reservations for the gala can be made by contacting OMFA at 270-685-3181 or [email protected], or by visiting www.omfa.us.

As recommended by government health authorities, guests will be asked to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result within the three days leading up to November 13.

The Holiday Forest and Gala are sponsored by the Glenmore Distillery, which has been the traditional patron of the festival since its inception.

The Art of the Heart exhibition is sponsored by Swedish Match.

Bobbie Hayse, [email protected], 270-691-7315


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