California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

October 10, 2012Mary Beth Barber

The Imagine Bus Project Selected to Create California's Ornaments for the 2012 National Christmas Tree Display

Ornaments from all 56 states, territories and the District of Columbia to be displayed at the 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Sacramento -
The participants of The Imagine Bus Project have been chosen to design and create the ornaments for California's tree for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in President's Park in Washington, D.C., the National Park Foundation and the California Arts Council announced today. The Imagine Bus Project joins local artists and youth from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia who were selected to design and create 24 ornaments for their respective state or territory tree.

"It is an honor to be selected to create California's tree ornaments for the display in our nation's capital," said Jaren Bonillo, Executive Director at the Imagine Bus Project. "We are excited to be a part of this great holiday tradition."

The Imagine Bus Project is a pre-eminent arts education nonprofit organization that offers low-income and at-risk San Francisco Bay Area children and youth innovative visual arts programs in and after school, thereby improving their chances for success in school, work and life.

Young artists from the Los Guilicos Juvenile Hall and Sierra Youth Center who participate in The Imagine Bus Project's Youth Studio program will create ornaments reflecting the theme "California Dreaming," and will include California's iconic images of palm trees, peace, the ocean, the sun, and love.  Youth Studio is a year-round visual arts program that serves incarcerated youth. During weekly art classes, youth explore issues of race, immigration, violence, and cultural identity to express experiences and ideas, make connections to the world and to others, and learn the value of collaboration, civic pride, and compassion.  The Imagine Bus Project is a California Arts Council "Artists in Schools" grantee.

"Grantees in our Artists in Schools program are doing great work providing in-depth arts educational experiences in classrooms and after-school programs throughout California," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "The California Arts Council is proud that the Imagine Bus Project's students will represent all the great arts education work in California by creating the ornaments for California's tree in Washington, D.C."

"We are very pleased that the Imagine Bus Project will represent California in this year's National Christmas Tree display," said Neil Muholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "This time-honored tradition is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season."

Four weeks of holiday events in President's Park will start with the 90th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. The exact date of the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be announced in mid-October.

As one of America's oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President's Park. Since 1923, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what now has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. In addition to the National Christmas Tree display, President's Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, such as the Santa's Workshop, nightly holiday performances, a Yule log, nativity scene, and model train display.

For ticket and talent information as well as other details, please visit

About the Imagine Bus Project

The Imagine Bus Project teaches underserved youth the power of self-expression through the visual arts, inspiring the creative potential of every child. The nonprofit organization is committed to serving underserved children and youth who would not otherwise have access to an arts education. The Imagine Bus Project is guided by the objective of providing sustained arts programming that empowers youth with tools of positive self-expression, increasing engagement in learning and instilling a sense of accomplishment.

The Imagine Bus Project's four program areas reach over 2,000 K-12 students annually in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Marin Counties through partnerships with under-resourced and economically disadvantaged school districts, juvenile detention centers, after-school programs and community-based organizations. For more information about The Imagine Bus Project, please visit

Reporters may contact Alanna Sobel at the National Park Foundation at or 202-684-3354 to find out more about the holiday tree festivities in our nation's capital. For details about the Imagine Bus Project, contact Jaren Bonillo, at More information about the California Arts Council may be found at, and reporters may contact Mary Beth Barber, Information Officer, at or 916-322-6588.

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Vice Chair William Turner, Wylie Aitken, Michael Alexander, Andrew Green, Adam Hubbard, Charmaine Jefferson, Terry Lenihan, Susan Steinhauser, and Rosalind Wyman.

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