The visual thrill of the holiday season

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Making the most of it. Photo: JH.

Friday, December 10, 2021.  Fair and cold, and mainly overcast with temps in the low 40s yesterday in New York. Some light snow was forecast a couple of days ago but it never showed up. I’m one of those people who loves the first snows. It comes from my childhood growing up in Massachusetts where it meant snowmen, ice skating, sledding, snow forts, and — when it first snows — the beauty and wonder of nature accommodating it.

Back in the mid-last century, for a kid it meant enjoying its aforementioned accommodations. Last year the winter months were barely snow-covered. And although it’s got very cold at times, it’s rarely been cold enough to see your exhaling breath outside. It’s just milder these days. Which all adds up to “climate change.” At least that’s what it looks like.

Trees awaiting their owners.
The decorating assistant.

However, the holiday season is almost upon us and the white stuff can at least provide a retrospective thrill, reminding us of our younger, tender selves where seeing people “skiing” or “tobbaganing” down the avenues was an enviable time out there in the snow. But that was then, and now those same people who loved the visual thrill of a heavy snowfall prefer Miami or Palm Beach to which lots who could, have fled for the winter season.

But the Christmas spirit is still being expressed by the special lighting of the streets and the pine trees which are now on sale en masse, and the holiday parties and receptions have begun.

The tree in the lobby. Looks like Santa made an early stop!
The tree in the lobby of my neighbors’ building.

Over at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), which recently appointed Nanette L. Laitman Director Tim Rodgers, they opened the 21st edition of MAD About Jewelry this past Monday. The new director welcomed everyone back to the Museum and thanked them for coming back to the Museum and for welcoming him to his first MAD About Jewelry event. He also thanked MAD About Jewelry Director Bryna Pomp for championing one of the Museum’s most beloved benefits — showcasing designs of more than 40 emerging and acclaimed US-based jewelry artists.

Of Rare Origin Jewelry “Truck Show” at MAD.
Paulette Werger Jewelry.

This is a week-long show — and sale of one-of-a-kind contemporary jewelry. It opened with a benefit evening honoring educator and advocate for contemporary craft Helen Drutt English. MAD Board Chair Michele Cohen praised Drutt as the Founder and Director of her eponymous gallery in Philadelphia, pointing out that she was among the first galleries to make a commitment to the modern and contemporary craft movement, adding that Ms. Cohen has transformed our understanding and appreciation of craft. For the past 35 years, Helen has been an integral part of MAD’s history to showcase artists advancing jewelry as an art form.

Honoree Helen Drutt English.

The annual MAD About Jewelry acquisition prize was presented to artists Amy Lemaire and Michael Nashef. MAD’s Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Ladson Chief Curator Elissa Auther shared: “Each year this award is presented to luminaries in the field of jewelry. The prize is in keeping with MAD’s long-standing commitment of presenting jewelry as an art form. We are the only American museum with a gallery dedicated to the display of contemporary and modern studio jewelry with our own collection of more than 900 pieces. Pieces from Amy and Michael now join our collection.”

Chairs for the evening were LaVon Kellner, Deidre Quinn, and Kay Unger. Advisory Committee members attending included MAD Board Members Michele Cohen, Marsy Mittlemann and Barbara Waldman, as well as Susan Ach and Ted Taylor. Guests included MAD Board Member Marian Burke, MAD Chairman Emeritus Barbara Tober, MAD Luminaries Co-Chairs Alexander Hankin and Christina Senia, Kathy Chazen, Chrissy Crawford, MAD Associate Curator Barbara Paris Gifford, Levi Higgs, Mary McFadden accompanied by her daughter Justine Harari, Anna Sui with her nieces Jeanni Sui Wonders and Isabelle Sui, and Shining Sung.

Alexander Hankin, Tim Rodgers, Barbara Tober, and Barbara Waldman.
L. to r.: Bryna Pomp and Elissa Auther; Michael Nashef, Elissa Auther, and Amy Lemaire.
Jeannie Sui Wonders, Barbara Paris Gifford, Anna Sui, LaVon Kellner, and Isabelle Sui.
LaVon Kellner, Sheree Hovsepian, and Kay Unger.
Susan Ach and Bonnie Levine.
L. to r.: Michele Cohen and Kathy Chazen; Deirdre Quinn.
Mary McFadden and Justine Harari.

Meanwhile it’s “Holiday Lights” time up at the Bronx Zoo. Animal lanterns, animated sculptures and colorful designs have been set out throughout the park to light your way to a magical light through January 9th.

They’re celebrating the wildlife in residence with light displays, animal lanterns. There are more than 260 lanterns representing about 70 animal and plant species. 79 new lanterns representing 30 new animal species are making their debut this year.

There are also Costumed wildlife characters; ice carving demonstrations as well as ice carving competitions. There are also animal-themed Stilt Walkers (perfect for family photo ops), and the Holiday Train (one of the favorites for family members), and a Wildlife Theater with family-friendly puppet adventures in the Dancing Crane Pavilion; and throughout the Zoo.

JH even popped by to get his fill of hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows (think s’mores!), ice cream, coffee, and gifts to take home and enjoy. Tickets are required for this special exhibition. Some citizens, both newcomers and old hands, will have a good time just looking, watching, taking in the animals and their look-a-likes. JH certainly did.

For more information click here.

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