Deal selects Christmas Ornament artist for National Christmas Tree

Photo Credit: File

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal, along with the National Park Foundation have announced that local artist Cindy Murphy has been chosen to design Georgia's Christmas tree ornaments for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in Washington.

To assist her, Murphy selected 13 students from the Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild in Covington, Georgia to assist with the display to incorporate the state's theme: "Weekend for Wildlife."

"We are excited to see Georgia once again take part in this tradition, and we are proud of these talented Georgia artists who continue to enrich our state's rich culture," said Gov. and Mrs. Deal in the press release. "This display will showcase our state's efforts to save precious wildlife and unite Georgians with the rest of our nation as we celebrate the 2012 holiday season together."

The Deal's selected theme was "Weekend for Wildlife: Wild Success Stories -- Twenty-five Years and Counting" to honor the Department of Natural Resources' work to conserve Georgia's nongaming wildlife. The ornaments will be constructed using a mosaic of textures such as glass, mirror, natural stones and shells. Murphy's designs will reference wildlife success stories such as the repopulation of the American bald eagle, the sea turtle, the purple pitcher and others, and incorporate the number "25."

"I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to represent Georgia's culture through my art," said Murphy in the release. "I hope the tree display will convey a little piece of Georgia's unique beauty to our entire nation."

"Working with Ms. Cindy to create ornaments that celebrate our great state in such a memorable and creative way has been a wonderful experience," said 17-year-old Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild member Jeffery Jones in the release. "Together, each of us has the vision of design, but like Georgia, our diversity makes us stronger."

The National Christmas Tree Lighting has evolved into one of America's oldest holiday traditions. Beginning Christmas Eve of 1923, President Calvin Coolidge set the standing precedent for all future presidents by officiating a Christmas tree lighting for 3,000 spectators in Presidents' Park. The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service now put on a month-long event hosting a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions to commemorate this tradition. The 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place in President's Park on Thursday, Dec. 6. For more information on tickets and talent announcements visit