A noted work by a famous Lawrencian is featured on the top holiday stage in the nation’s capital.
A plastic ball encasing an image of Langston Hughes and one of his poems, “Dream,” is among 25 ornaments hanging from the Kansas state tree in the annual Pageant of Peace display, which surrounds the National Christmas Tree in the Ellipse immediately south of the White House.
The ornament is one of 12 designed and made by 4-year-old children working with their parents earlier this month at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka, an interactive educational operation founded in June by Lawrence native Joanne Morrell.
The children followed Kansas themes in fashioning their ornaments, depicting their interpretations of history, arts, culture, sustainability and others. Verses of the state song, “Home on the Range,” are featured on four of the children’s ornaments.
“It’s what Kansas stands for,” said Carolyn Chinn Lewis, the center’s assistant director, who spent more than 30 years as an administrator at the Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University.
Also on the tree is the official state ornament, once again created and donated by Anita Wolgast of Topeka. There are 13 copies of the brass ornament, each featuring an image of a snowy day at the Kansas Capitol by late Kansas artist Ernst Ulmer; it’s the same image that had been featured on the state’s official ornament back in 1986.
“It was incredibly popular,” Wolgast said, “so we brought it back.”
Reproductions of this year’s official ornament — not the children’s ornaments — are available for sale in the gift shop at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka and through Kansas State Historical Society’s website, KSHS.org. The ornaments also will be available for sale soon at Kansas Sampler stores, including the one in Lawrence.
And for anyone interested in an unofficial Lawrence ornament, the Lawrence Kiwanis Club is selling a brass ornament featuring several landmarks: the gazebo in South Park, Fraser Hall, the Douglas County Courthouse, the Campanile and the Watkins Community Museum of History. For more information, contact a member of the club or visit TomPollardDesigns.com.