Governor Nathan Deal - Georgia’s 82nd Governor (2011-2019)

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Deal: Covington artist chosen for 2012 National Christmas Tree ornament

November 9, 2012

Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal, along with the National Park Foundation, announced that local artist Cindy Murphy was chosen to design Georgia’s Christmas tree ornaments for the 2012 National Christmas Tree display in Washington. Murphy has selected 13 young Georgia artists from the Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild in Covington to assist with the display which will incorporate our state’s theme: “Weekend for Wildlife.”

“We are excited to see Georgia once again take part in this tradition, and we are proud of these talented Georgia artists who continue to enrich our state’s rich culture,” said Gov. and Mrs. Deal. “This display will showcase our state’s efforts to save precious wildlife and unite Georgians with the rest of our nation as we celebrate the 2012 holiday season together.”

The Deal’s selected the theme “Weekend for Wildlife: Wild Success Stories -- Twenty-five Years and Counting” to honor the Department of Natural Resources’ dedicated work to conserve Georgia’s nongaming wildlife. The ornaments will be constructed using a mosaic of textures such as glass, mirror, natural stones and shells. Murphy’s designs will reference wildlife success stories such as the repopulation of the American bald eagle, the sea turtle, the purple pitcher and others, and incorporate the number “25.”

“I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to represent Georgia’s culture through my art,” said Murphy. “I hope the tree display will convey a little piece of Georgia’s unique beauty to our entire nation.”

“Working with Ms. Cindy to create ornaments that celebrate our great state in such a memorable and creative way has been a wonderful experience,” said 17-year-old Youth Students of the Southern Heartland Art Guild member Jeffery Jones. “Together, each of us has the vision of design, but like Georgia, our diversity makes us stronger.”

The National Christmas Tree Lighting has evolved into one of America’s oldest holiday traditions. Beginning Christmas Eve of 1923, President Calvin Coolidge set the standing precedent for all future presidents by officiating a Christmas tree lighting for 3,000 spectators in Presidents’ Park. The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service now put on a month-long event hosting a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions to commemorate this tradition.

“We are very pleased that Cindy Murphy was chosen to represent Georgia in this year’s National Christmas Tree display,” said president and CEO of the National Park Foundation Neil Mulholland. “This time-honored tradition, showcasing nationwide accord, is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.”

The 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place in President’s Park on Thursday, Dec. 6. For more information on tickets and talent announcements visit

Cindy Murphy
Murphy, of Covington, has been an artist for more than 15 years and holds a degree in Commercial Art. She is passionate about Georgia’s wildlife and natural beauty, which has become the subject of many of her paintings and mosaics. Murphy is also a founding member of the Southern Heartland Art Guild, the organization from which the young artists were selected. Started in 1988, the organization is a visual arts nonprofit group that works “to provide, encourage and support involvement in the visual arts toward the goal of enriching the cultural life of residents through instruction, educational scholarship and exhibition of fine art.”

About The National Park Service
The National Park Service preserves the natural resources and cultural values of America’s 395 National Park sites for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of generations to come. The National Park Service collaborates with partners to extend the benefits of resource and heritage conservation throughout this country and the world. For more information, visit

About The National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation is responsible for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, this foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. The National Park Foundation works hand in hand with the National Park Service to preserve the aesthetics and heritage of the parks so that all current and future Americans have the opportunity to experience their impact. For more information, visit