This year’s display of Artist Christmas Trees at the Parkersburg Art Center has earned global attention after a Banksy-inspired tree went viral on Saturday. Within 24 hours, the post on Reddit had more than 87,000 likes.

The “shredded” Christmas tree display was created by volunteers Kelley Cartwright and Kasey Snyder and pays homage to the anonymous English artist’s shredding of his piece Girl With Balloon after it sold at auction earlier this year. The painting was partially destroyed by a shredder embedded into its frame by Banksy only minutes after it was sold for more than $1 million.

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The shredded tree was one in a series of trees inspired by famous artists. Volunteers imagined how artists like Klee, Calder or Picasso would have decorated a Christmas Tree for this playful and creative exhibit, on display at the Parkersburg Art Center through December 22nd.

“Because we are an art center, and a community-focused center, we wanted to create a holiday tradition that represents the creative energy in this community and also involves the community,” said Jessie Siefert, Educational Director at the Art Center. “This year we have artist trees from PSHS, Criss Elementary, the ArtStart Preschool, Abby Hayhurst, Dorsey Northrup, Tracy Love, The Art Center Pottery Studio, Joan Palmer, Kasey Snyder and Kelley Cartwright, Virginia Killian and myself. Our friends at Family Carpet have been very kind in helping us put this exhibition together.”

Banksy Tree

After going viral on Reddit, the story was picked up by media organizations all across the globe, including The Press and Journal, Daily Mail UK, and the Irish Examiner. Each article brings with it likes, shares, comments for the Parkersburg Art Center, helping the organization grow its reach and bring more awareness to their mission in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“By hosting this annual event we hope that more people will walk through our doors and find out about the Art Center,” said Jessie. “Inside is such a wonderful place, getting people to cross our threshold is often the most difficult part. Both children and adults can gain so much through the process of making art or taking part in other creative endeavors. We want to be an integral part of that.”

In January, the Art Center will begin their free Saturday morning Arty Party programs for families. Each Saturday from 10-12 noon there will be a different project for families to enjoy together in the Center’s Art Factory. “In January, we will also be offering another full line-up of classes for kids and adults ranging from photography to drawing, watercolor painting to pottery,” said Jessie. “We will also continue our semi-monthly reduced price painting parties for senior citizens in the new year.”

To learn more about the Parkersburg Art Center, head over to their website. If you’d like to check out the art on display, there are several different galleries and often multiple exhibits on display at the same time. The center is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, and Wednesday is free admission day!

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