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Staying merry and bright at Stark Cultural Venues

To The Leader

As we head into the Christmas season during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to remember that there are many families in our community who are in great need. Once again this year, despite many COVID-related restrictions, the Stark Foundation’s Art and History Venues, Lutcher Theater, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center will be collecting non-perishable food items for Orange Christian Services. Our community desperately needs the generosity that so many of you show each year, especially now. We will be having non-perishable food drive drop-off events from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, December 11th at the Stark Museum of Art and Friday, December 18th at the Lutcher Theater. If you are unable to bring food on one of these nights, both Shangri La Gardens and the Stark Museum of Art will be accepting non-perishable food donations 9am to 5pm Wednesday through Friday from December 9th to December 18th at our visitor admissions areas. Please do what you can to make the Christmas season a little bit brighter during this difficult time. Thank you in advance for your generosity and caring.

Lutcher Theater: Lutcher patrons will kick off the Christmas season with a drive-up-style Broadway-inspired holiday family movie night in the Lutcher parking lot. Showtime Under the Stars – How The Grinch Stole Christmas will play on a 30ft wide LED jumbo screen to a SOLD OUT crowd. Complete with pre-show Christmas carols and appearances by the Grinch himself, the night is sure to be a holiday hit! The event is hosted by the Lutcher Theater in partnership with the Stark Cultural Venues Christmas festivities.

Once again, the Lutcher is happy to offer it’s patrons and the community an opportunity to support the Salvation Army of Orange County with the Lutcher’s Annual PJ and Blanket Drive. There’s nothing like snuggly, soft blankets and new pajamas to make a child smile bright on Christmas morning! Drop off new children’s pajamas and blankets to the collection station at Lutcher Theater until December 9th. For patrons with “Grinch” reservations, donations will also be accepted at Showtime Under the Stars – How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie night on December 5th.

Stark Museum of Art: A visit to the Stark Museum of Art on any open day between now and December 18 makes you eligible to win a $25 gift card to one of 3 FABULOUS local businesses – Famer’s Mercantile, The Pink Rooster Treasures, and Lucy’s Bakery and Cafe. Each individual visitor will receive a ticket to place towards the drawing of their choice – so bring your friends or family for more chances to win! Drawings will take place Friday, December 18 at 4pm. Gift cards may be picked up on Wednesday, December 23 at the Museum Welcome Desk or will be mailed to winners after the first of the year.

The West is a Big Place, and so is the Museum! Which makes it ideal for social distancing. The Museum has implemented mandatory mask use, additional hand sanitizing stations, and increased cleaning of public areas. Open Wednesday-Friday 9am – 5pm. Free admission, always.

Observe the beauty of Christmas art during our Lunch & Look @ Home: The Nativity in Art program on Friday, December 11th from Noon to 1pm. Take a lunch break at your home or office and virtually visit the Stark Museum of Art using the Zoom platform. Curator Sarah E. Boehme will discuss the Boehm Nativity, supplemented with a slide talk on the Christmas story in art. Participants will learn about the origins of the crèche, the Nativity in sculptural form. The talk will explore the tradition in other art forms such as Books of Hours illuminations and stained glass. Participants must register for this FREE program in advance at Starkmuseum.org

The W.H. Stark House is excited to present Santa Through the Ages. This exterior display features images of Santa from the House collection spanning 40 years, from 1888 – 1918. During these years, the concept and look of the Santa Claus we know today rapidly evolved in America. Take a drive down North Sixth Street to enjoy some Christmas cheer and be sure to check out the display’s accompanying information at whstarkhouse.org/learn/exhibits/.

Join The W.H. Stark House’s Joshua Cole and Hannah Danielson on Friday, December 18th from noon to 1pm as they explore the creation of the modern American concept of Santa Clause. This free Zoom lecture will look at the history and development of one of today’s most beloved holiday figures. The American Santa that we know and love is an amalgamation of traditions and both real and fictional characters from around the world. Our concept of Santa was born in the myth-making of the early American republic, drafted to lift spirits during the Civil War, and came of age during the industrial boom of the early 20th century. Together, we’ll take a closer look at one of the most familiar faces of Christmas. Participants must register for this FREE program in advance at whstarkhouse.org.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center: Come explore the beauty of the gardens, enjoy wildlife and the outdoors, and experience the wonderful seasonal changes in Southeast Texas late in the year. Open Wednesday– Friday from 9am – 5 pm. Free admission, always! Shangri La Gardens has implemented a range of practices to ensure the safety and well-being of the visitors and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak including optional timed ticketing to maintain adequate social distancing. To reserve timed tickets, visit shangrilagardens.org/visit. . Walk-up entry is still welcome, but contingent upon availability.

The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation invites everyone to take a drive to downtown Orange and see the Christmas lights at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Stark Museum of Art, W.H. Stark House, and the Lutcher Theater. The Stark Foundation wishes you and your family a Merry & Bright Christmas Season!