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Holiday inspiration, art focus of mall celebration

Dec. 09, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Huntington Mall visitors have the chance to not only share their Christmas wishes with Santa, but also take part in an ongoing art installation, which made its debut at the mall Saturday afternoon.

For the second year in a row, the mall partnered with the microWave Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that acts as a catalyst between artists and businesses to provide space for temporary micro-art galleries, said Margi MacDuff, marketing director for the mall.

Saturday's unveiling of "Hope Blossoms" by artist Kelly O'Brien was a holiday celebration in its own right with appearances from the Nutcracker and his ballerina, Santa Claus and dancers from Arts in Action, based in Hurricane. There also was a kids' art station hosted by the Huntington Museum of Art during the event.

MacDuff said the goal of the presentation and the art installation is to keep in line with the mall's Christmas campaign called "Dream. Imagine. Hope. Believe."

"The overall theme here is an optimistic one," she said. "We chose Arts in Action as an inspirational performance, and we hope people are inspired by 'Hope Blossoms' as well. The goal is to uplift people."

"Hope Blossoms" features a white tree branching out from a pond, where a swan is perched, and the installation is located just outside of Santa's window in the mall.

The pond in the installation is made of paper cut-outs of the words from the Emily Dickinson poem, "Hope is the Thing with Feathers," which served as inspiration for the piece, O'Brien said.

"It's a very optimistic poem, and the hope is to keep that optimism alive in everything you do in life, knowing, with that hope, you can do great things," O'Brien said. "To make a piece of work for a space like this is a stretch in itself, and it was a big inspiration for me. I hope people are likewise inspired by this work."

The work will be on display in the Center Court until the end of May 2013, and mall guests have the opportunity to contribute to the piece. MacDuff and O'Brien encourage guests to take a piece of paper from a bowl near the work and write down their hopes before using it as a contribution to the bond at the base of the installation.

"I hope by the time we take the installation down that we see this pond filled with the hopes of the people who visit this area," O'Brien said.

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