The 25th annual Holiday Open House offered much to see and do including Santa selfies, sculpture garden train rides, and refreshments at the Irving Arts Center on Friday, Dec. 8. An incredible wonderland of decorated trees and art took inspiration from the theme “Holidays Around the World.” Stilt walkers, jugglers and performances featuring the Lone Star Youth Orchestra, Irving Chorale, and Momentum Dance entertained guests.
Holiday traditions from around the world were reflected in the decorated trees and art on display.
“This is our 25th Open House and it’s wonderful,” Rosie Mang, Irving Arts Center Assistant Executive Director, said. “This is one of those highlights of our year. It’s open to the public.
“It’s just fun seeing all the kids here. All the kids coming in for their artwork on the walls. So that’s great! During this whole holiday season while their artwork is up there parents can go with their children to see it, and they’re so proud.”
According to Mang, the night was a chance for everyone to see what the Irving Arts Center does and how it promotes the arts in the city.
One of Jessica Lesser’s favorite activities was seeing the Santa meet and greet in the rehearsal hall.
“It’s really cute,” Lesser said. “It’s more like a selfie-thing, so the parents get to take their own pictures of their kids.”
Lesser has worked with Irving Arts Center for seven years and the city of Irving for two years.
“I think it’s fun they actually let the employees dress up,” Lesser said. “You’ll see a lot of the employees wearing ugly sweaters, or the hats. We get to join in the festivities.”
Linda Shotwell has been participating as a face painter at the Irving Arts Center for about five years.
“I love seeing how many in the community come out, especially all the kids,” Shotwell said. “It is so much fun to see the parents and kids together, and to be able to paint faces. It puts you in the holiday spirit.
“The Irving Arts Center has a lot to offer for kids and adults as well as. I represent the Irving Art Association. We have a Christmas card workshop that we have going on in one of the rooms. We also have lots of kids activities throughout the year. We have classes for adults and children alike. I hope everyone takes time to visit all the activities at the Irving Arts Center and the Irving Art Association.”
“The children, all the kids, and the fact that families are together and are doing the Open House together” is what makes this a night to remember,” John Lee
Hunter, a volunteer for the Irving Arts Association said.
“I love seeing the students come in and their reaction when they see their art,” Tony Beck, an art teacher at Farine Elementary, said. “I was really amazed at how well all the kids did. I had surpluses of artwork. I could have probably filled a whole wall, because the kids worked so hard. I was really blown back by how talented they are.”
Approximately 36 community leaders and volunteers judged the holiday trees decorated by Irving schools PTAs and PTOs. Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer announced the awards and winners of the tree decorating competition. A certificate and cash award was given to the following Irving schools:
First place winner: T.J. Lee Elementary
Second place winner: Holy Family Catholic Academy
Third place winner: Elliott Elementary.
Later in the evening, Grammy award-winner, Dan Zanes and Friends performed a Holiday Sing Along. Featuring Christmas and Hanukkah classics, there were also songs from Tunisia, Korea, Puerto Rico, Wales, and Mexico.
Songs from around the world were merrily sung by Dan Zanes and Friends. The instruments were as varied as the song list, including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, drums, harmonica, trumpet, jarana guitar and washboard. Songbooks were distributed for everyone to sing along and guests of all ages joined the band on stage.
“I’ve always enjoyed the presentations such as Dan Zanes,” Richard Green said. “They’re always quality. Just the fact that the city of Irving puts this on is a great gift to the citizens of Irving.”