Holiday Windows: 2018
The holiday season in major cities around the world is typically heralded by seasonal window retail displays put up by department stores and retailers large and small. We can trace their beginnings back to the industrial revolution and widespread availability of plate glass in the late 1800s. This allowed shop owners to build large windows spanning the full lengths of their shops for the display of merchandise and so the notion of window shopping was born.
The Holiday window display tradition continues and fascinates people of all ages through festive, handcrafted scenes that cheerfully light up the city streets. The Harrison Center offers a unique take on this concept with the Holiday Window Tour. This tradition dates back to 2015 when Herron School of Art & Design graduate student Stefan Eicher, a Harrison Center Fellow, coordinated the first ever Holiday Window Tour.
On the cold evening of First Friday, we eagerly anticipated the tour that lit up the northern border of our Old Northside neighborhood. With warm cider in hand, we marveled at the site of 21 unique window displays made by local artists throughout Indianapolis.
The first window on the tour and second place winner, Johnny McKee, created “The Christmas Whale”. After receiving a whale vertebra, Johnny was inspired to incorporate it into his window display. He stumbled across some research revealing an interesting relationship between whales and Christmas. In 1989 a scientist discovered a Baleen whale singing a distinctly different tune than the rest of the cetaceans. The whale was heard in the North Pacific with the help of microphones from the Cold War era, and would be detected in the area typically near the month of December (thus earning the moniker- The Christmas Whale)
“The story felt similar to what I talk about in my art currently. Looking for bigger importance, and general themes regarding humanity.” Mckee states. The story of the Christmas whale is a heartwarming reminder to appreciate the love you have and give love in return.
Embrace the meaning of this holiday season through acts of kindness and compassion for all. As you plan your next holiday festivity, don’t forget to stop at the Harrison Center to see the beautiful windows on display and stop in the Holiday Pop Up Shop for a unique handmade gift for someone you love. The window displays will be up for the month of December and shopping at the Pop Up Shop will available through Christmas Eve.