Wednesday, December 11, 2019

41 Annual Christmas in the Park

Pam Schwartz and I met at Winter Park's Central Park (150 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL) for the 41st Annual Christmas in the Park hosted by The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and the City of Winter Park.

At 6:15 p.m. nine century-old Tiffany leaded-glass windows were lit. They were scattered across the lawn with two framing the chorus on stage. When I arrived I voted against muscling my way up to the stage, instead I was fascinated by the lines of people who would needed to shoot cell phone photos of the stained glass. I recognized the docent who was cheerfully talking to people about the history of the stained glass panel.

On the Central Park main stage the 160 voice Bach Festival Society Choir performed. I was seated behind a hedge and a secondary stage so I never actually saw anything that happened on stage. However the constant stream of people pressing close to the stained glass was just as entertaining for me.

Anyone who stopped to read the tombstone label was illuminated a ghostly green from below. This particular Memorial Window created  in 1909 was for a chapel for the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged, Indigent Females
which provided housing and pensions for poor elderly women. The ARRAIF was located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, N.Y which was founded in 1883 and closed down in 1974.   In 1908, a Mrs. Sage gave the association a gift of $250,000, that was used to  extend the building south to the corner of West 103 Street. The architect for the addition was Charles Rich. The addition included the installation of Tiffany windows to the Chapel.

Tiffany wanted to return the art of glass making to the glory days of Medieval churches. Each piece of glass has a variety of color, tone and texture that became known as opalescent. The glass has imperfections, streaks, bubbles and folds that become a part of the beauty of the finished piece. The design was symmetrical yet elements within that design stepped outside of the symmetry creating some tension. I love any art that accepts imperfections as part of the process.

The crowd on the lawn came prepared for the occasion. Some had entire picnics with bottled of wine and Christmas lights to decorate the tableau and themselves. One of the songs was of course Jingle Bells and people knew to come to  the concert with their own jingle bells that they jingled and jangled in time to the music.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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