Rachel Euback of Sticks, holding ornament, as governor looks on.

A group of central Iowa art students helped create two dozen ornaments for the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. 

The governor’s office asked Sticks, an Iowa company that makes folk art, to come up with the designs and the art club at Des Moines Roosevelt High School painted the ornaments. Anna Schmalzriedt, a junior at Roosevelt, is one of the students who worked on the project.

“Some of us painted a couple,” Schmalzriedt says. “Some of us only had time to paint one, but it was really fun.”

The artists at Sticks drew an outline on the transparent ornaments, which the students could split in half to paint.

“We got to mix colors,” Schmalzriedt says. “We got to choose what we wanted to do with it.”

Rachel Eubank, sales manager at Sticks, says each of the 24 ornaments has a different scene painted on it.

“We highlighted the agriculture elements, we highlighted the state universities, all sorts of things like that,” Ubank says. “…If you get to D.C., go check out the tree and see what all these students were able to help us create.”

The National Christmas Tree will be lit on December 1. The ornaments have already been shipped to D.C. The artists at Sticks created a replica of one of the ornaments — featuring a goldfinch, the state bird, and the wild rose, the state flower — to be able to show off the artwork at the governor’s weekly news conference.  (Find the audio here.) Fourteen of the high school students who painted the ornaments were in the governor’s office for the event.

“We’re very proud of Sticks which is a great Iowa company and all of the students from Roosevelt that participated in this project,” Branstad said, “so hopefully we’ll have some Iowans that’ll get a chance to see this in Washington, D.C.” 

The tree lighting ceremony will be held late Thursday afternoon, December 1st, and the 17,000 tickets for the event have already been awarded by lottery.