By Amy Rea

Every year, the National Park Service puts up and lights the National Tree in Washington, D.C. As befitting a national tree, the ornaments represent each of the fifty states. How is Minnesota represented?

(credit: KNOCK)

(credit: KNOCK)

The National Park Service, for the third year in a row, turned to local branding and design firm KNOCK. KNOCK in turn sought out Juxtaposition Arts, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that prepares kids for careers in the visual arts by giving them education, training and mentorship.

(credit: KNOCK)

(credit: KNOCK)

KNOCK founder and president/CEO Lili Hall says working with Juxtaposition was a win-win for both groups, as KNOCK wanted the opportunity to collaborate with an organization that believes in the importance of giving kids the ability to explore creativity not just for creativity’s sake, but for their future. “We respect and admire the work Juxtaposition is doing for kids in our North Minneapolis community,” says Hall.

(credit: KNOCK)

(credit: KNOCK)

The process of designing the ornaments mirrored the usual approach for a Juxtaposition project. Employees from KNOCK teamed up with kids who were interested in visual arts’ careers. Working collaboratively, they brainstormed, designed, refined and handcrafted the ornaments. Each ornament is then placed in a protective shell before being shipped to D.C.

(credit: KNOCK)

(credit: KNOCK)

This project gave the kids the chance to personalize the ornaments, adding a little bit of themselves into the Minnesota mix, while at the same time expanding each artist’s confidence, skills and knowledge.

Best of all, they will spend their holiday season knowing that their hard work and creativity is on display for a very large audience. Kudos to KNOCK and Juxtaposition Arts for giving these artists reason for joy!

To see the ornaments in process, check out this video.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.


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