Published December 8, 2023
36 New Ornaments Complete Refresh of 92 County Tree
Among the many beloved traditions of Celebration Crossing, the 92 County Tree has been greeting visitors at the Indiana State Museum’s Washington Street entrance since 2008. However, the tree has recently undergone a top-to-bottom refresh and now features completely new ornaments that will represent the counties for years to come.
Mark Ruschman, ISMHS senior curator of art emeritus, began working with Indiana artisans in 2022 to design and create pieces that reflect their county. This year’s tree features 36 new ornaments, adding to the more than 50 ornaments unveiled last year during Celebration Crossing. A digital kiosk also allows visitors to look up and learn more about each county’s ornament as well as the artist who created it.
Using a wide variety of materials and mediums, each artwork has been hand-crafted to represent significant natural and cultural features of their county.
Among the many incredible new ornaments, Shelby County’s ornament was created by artist Shanae Dees. Titled “Echoes from Our Past, Whispers from our Future,” the piece is an artist book and offers an unfolding experience as it displays portraits of influential Shelby County citizens.
The Ohio County piece is made of fused glass with a frame constructed of wood from a barn that stood in the county for more than a century. The ornament by glass artist Sherrie Howard reflects the beautiful waterfront bordering in the mighty Ohio River.
Made of air-dry clay built up on a foam base, the Clinton County ornament was created by mixed media artist Wendy Simon. It captures the landscape and integration of farming, industrial settings and common wildlife. Frankfort’s lights can be seen in the distance of this twilight sculpted painting that integrates past and present.
The Perry County ornament was created using a unique design technique called sgraffito, in which artist Nita Claise made scratches in the pre-fired clay surface to reveal images of prominent county landmarks and history, including the Celtic Cross overlooking the Ohio River, as well as trees and wildlife of the Hoosier National Forest.
Museum visitors can see the full 92 County Tree on display through Dec. 31 at Celebration Crossing.
Created by artist Shanae Dees
Created by mixed media artist Wendy Simon
Created by artist Nita Claise
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