Press Releases

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
No. 158

Parks Celebrates The Holidays With Its 25Th Wreath Exhibit

Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the 25th annual Wreath Interpretations exhibition, a holiday tradition at the Arsenal in Central Park. Fine artists, environmentalists, landscape architects, graphic designers and other creative souls from within and outside the Parks Department have used materials such as foliage, wire, bicycle wheels, forged iron, knitted gloves and scissors to create 30 unique wreaths.

“‘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 Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “This year’s 25th anniversary collection celebrates a cherished holiday tradition and features everything from traditional organic wreaths with evergreen boughs to more industrial interpretations with circuit boards, wire and lights. We thank the artists for putting their creative spin on this timeless circular form.”

This year’s exhibition offers a diverse collection of wreath interpretations. Some artists use an organic base of classic evergreens, branches and pinecones, while others approach their wreaths with more modern industrial and technology-based materials. One artist weaves together colorful copper wire atop circuit boards. Another uses an actual spool from the Roebling wire rope factory and builds a miniature papier-mâché and wire model of the Brooklyn Bridge, which was designed by John Augustus Roebling and was the first steel-wire suspension bridge.

Historically, wreaths 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. Today the word “wreath” most often invokes thoughts of the holiday season and round boughs of evergreens. 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 Clare Weiss and Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner Deborah Zingale and will be on display from December 4 through December 28, 2007. Many of the wreaths are for sale with a portion of the sales benefiting Parks’ public art program.

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.; closed December 25, 2007. Admission is free.

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