“Re-Imagining the Holidays” Art Installation Lights Up Tonight

While there won’t be a lighting ceremony/party on Ellsworth Drive, this year’s “Re-Imagining the Holidays” art installation will be lit up beginning tonight (Nov. 13) through mid-January.

This year’s project, “Sparkling Snowfall,” is the result of a partnership between Minnesota-based artists Michael Cimino and Karl Unnasch in collaboration with three local artists, Michelle Izquierdo, Vanessa Smith and Erick Satchell II.

This year’s installation on Fountain Plaza is a collection of colorful plexiglass snowflakes hung inside and out on a framework that’s wrapped in blue garland, topped with a crystal burst. Colorful floodlights and blinking lights will illuminate the structure for shoppers and other visitors to enjoy.

“Given the political year, given COVID and everything, we wanted to go back to a simpler celebration that brings a spark of joy, that just brings a smile to the face and also celebrating the season that we’re going into, winter,” said Cimino.

“[It’s] going back to basics and just making something that’s really beautiful and really making something that lights up, when it hits in the morning with all the color, it’s just another additional splash of joy that this whole complex is becoming,” he added.

Each year’s theme has had a charitable component since 2013, the inaugural year, when a collection of winter sports equipment was donated once the installation was taken down.

“This year, Downtown Silver Spring has partnered with the Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center Foundation for ‘A Flurry of Gratitude,’” Laurie Yankowski, regional director, marketing for The Peterson Companies, told the Source.

“Shoppers can donate $25 to the hospital foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund to thank a healthcare worker at White Oak Medical Center,” she continued. “With the donation, your personal message of thanks will be printed and displayed on snowflakes throughout the property. Up to 100 snowflakes will be installed in early December and on display through the holiday season until Jan. 10.   

“This initiative will launch just before Thanksgiving with a big push on Giving Tuesday, December 1,” Yankowski added.

Unnasch has been part of creating a holiday installation all eight years that it’s been done. He teamed with Cimino, a former apprentice of his, and the other artists three years ago, and the group has continued to work together each year.

“Every year, we try to one-up it,” Cimino said. “[This year], it’s not as much about making a statement as making a really bold, solid image.”

Cimino (in black) fine-tunes the Sparkling Snowfall installation. Photo by Mike Diegel

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