Welcome to the 3rd annual Nativities of the World Exhibit. Due to Covid 19 concerns we have chosen to offer the Exhibit Virtually. The Exhibit will run from now thru Jan 6th.
Most of the nativities are inexpensive ones, collected by Carole Kjellsen of Cumming, an active member of the Sawnee Association of the Arts and the Cumming Arts Center over the course of her lifetime.
The collection began when Carole was a little girl growing up in South Carolina. She continued to collect nativities as she and her husband Dick traveled abroad and in the United States. She continues to add to her collection by making purchases online and by finding small, interesting pieces at Hobby Lobby and in religious stores each year. Multiple pieces have also been gifted to her over the years by friends who know of her collection and her sisters in law.
The pieces featured in this Virtual Exhibit which are favorites are: Two carved pieces which were gifted by a local wood artist from Roswell, GA, and her other favorite is a marble sculpture small egg shape with the nativity detailed inside. The wood art and the marble sculpture are featured in this Virtual Exhibit. Two large sets, one created by her mother in law and a large Willow Tree Collection are not included in this Virtual Exhibit. The marble piece is featured; it was purchased from the Greek sculptor who was 100 years old; the sculptor was losing her vision and had outlived her children and grandchildren and needed the money to pay for care after she lost her sight. The detail is amazing. It is also probably the most expensive piece and even it, only cost $100 when it was purchased many many years ago.
There are a few sets which were purchased from the Bradford Exchange as collectibles, but most pieces are mass production pieces with a unique feature that captured Carole’s attention. The nativities come from all parts of the world: USA, including an Aleutian piece crafted from charred whale bone; England, Greece, Germany, Guatemala, The Holy Land, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Scandinavia, Viet Nam, and other mass production pieces from China. Several pieces are on loan each year from friends Bunny Salter, The Holy Land; Kathy Gamble, the large Fontanini, Linda D’Angelo lends her set from Mexico, and Linda Lessenberry lends her set from Bavaria.
Last year also featured a local couple’s Native American set which they lent to the Cumming Arts Center after visiting the exhibit in 2018 and they then offered to share their set with the public in 2019.
The Cumming Arts Center hopes that you will enjoy this 3rd annual Nativities of the World Exhibit, presented virtually.
Thank you for visiting and please plan to visit the 4th annual Nativities of the World Exhibit in 2021 when all the pieces will once again be on public display at the Cumming Arts Center.
Carole Kjellsen, President, SAA and Curator, Nativities of the World Exhibit
Bunny Salter, Vice President, SAA , The Holy Land Nativity Set hand carved from olive wood
Kathy Gamble, Secretary, SAA , The multi-photo collection of a village of the Nativity, Fontanini Set from Italy
Belinda Swift, Communications, SAA will hopefully be able to add her small sets from Alaska and Iceland
And friends of the arts Linda D’Angelo whose hand crafted Nativity is from Mexico and Linda Lessenberry and Rob Casey who lend their Bavarian porcelain Nativity.