Magic of Christmas

Miss Florence's Artist Tree

One of the most exciting additions to the Museum’s annual holiday celebration has been “Miss Florence’s Artist Tree."

It is a 12-foot tree decorated with artists’ palettes painted by professional artists from Southeastern Connecticut and beyond. This signature tree began in 2004 with 52 palettes. Each year the Museum invites more artists add to this special project.

The idea for the “Miss Florence’s Artist Tree” came about through discussions between Andersen and Director of Education and Outreach David Rau. It was decided the Museum should have a signature tree, one that related to its core story. Because many of the artists who stayed at Miss Florence’s boarding house over one hundred years ago painted directly on its doors and wall panels, Rau had the idea of inviting artists to once again leave their mark on the Museum. A small wooden palette, a traditional artist tool used to hold and mix paints, seemed like the perfect means of expression and was sent to a selected list of artists. Some of the artists who participated include Sandy Garvin, Brad Guarino, T. Allen Lawson, and Sol Lewitt. Their styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises! “Watching visitors gaze up into the tree with the look of wonder is so rewarding,” states Rau, “and truly magical.”