Salisbury celebrates new angels

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

Staff report

Salisbury now has 39 angels watching over it.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. introduced four new angels on Dec. 3 at the sixth annual Celebration of Angels held at the Robertson Eastern Gateway Park.

Give a Christmas welcome to Victorian Lace, Angel of Wildlife in Rowan County, Angel of Harvest and Angel of Education.

Each year, Downtown Salisbury Inc. invites local artists to submit designs for new angels, and a panel of jurors selects the winning entries.

The panel’s selection of four this year brings the total number of life-sized, guardian angels in downtown Salisbury to 39.

The Angels of Salisbury are displayed during the holiday season in the Robertson Eastern Gateway Park, at downtown churches and along Depot Street. They will remain on display through mid January.

Janie Allen, a local artist, businesswoman and Downtown Salisbury Inc. board member, introduced the angel tradition to Salisbury six years ago.

After their selection, the artists receive angel frames and begin creating their works, which are unique in design and try to reflect the history and diversity in Salisbury.

The angels are lighted and installed during the holiday season nights.

The winning artists this year were Anita Ammerman, Dr. Claudia Gardner, Daniel Hazard and Marietta Smith.

Here’s a brief description of each new angel:

* Ammerman’s Victorian Lace holds a white magnolia in her left hand to signify purity of spirit.

The palm branches in her right hand represent triumph over evil, as she watches over the city.

Ammerman has been painting with watercolors for more than 18 years and also works with copper, pastel and photography.

She has exhibited her works widely in the Piedmont since 1987.

* Gardner presents the Third Ark Angel of the Ark Angel Series with her Angel of Wildlife in Rowan County.

It was supposed to be the fourth ark angel, but she made it the third in honor of all the animals who perished in the Dan Nicholas Park barn fire this year.

The Angel of Wildlife represents all of nature and its beauty and reminds the viewer how fragile the ecosystem is. The angel is dressed in foliage of the outdoors and is almost hidden from view. Gardner, a veterinarian, paints for pleasure as time allows.

* Hazard’s Angel of Harvest represents the fall season when crops are brought in and grains are stored for the coming winter. Also known as the Angel of Plenty, it symbolizes richness of mind, spirit and heart.

Hazard lives in Salisbury and has been an N.C. resident since 2002. He has strong interests in music and art.

* Smith’s Angel of Education represents the many angels in Salisbury who have given their time and energy toward the education of children — school teachers, administrators, parents and mentors.

The angel’s plain robe suggests that clothing and status are not important. The wings of gold, silver, pink and copper reflect the importance of education to the nation’s future. A golden light coming from the angel’s book represents knowledge.

Smith shares a studio in Salisbury with other artists at Rail Walk Studios and Gallery.

The hourlong program on Dec. 3 included the Rockwell Elementary School Chorus, directed by Ann Musselman; a Christmas sing-along, led by Jim Gobble; and holiday storytelling by Robert Jones.

F & amp;M bank was the event’s main sponsor.

Frost Bites provided the refreshments.

Mike and Julie Fuller were an angel sponsor, in memory of Lillie Hardiman Hoffman.

Allen emceed Saturday. Claire Allen, Haley Bowler, Rebecca Lewis, Taren Sherrill, Grace Stokes and Christina Maria Wright served as “Little Angels,” and thanks also went to Beverly Higgins, Adina Martin and Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.

For more information on the angels program, contact downtown Salisbury Inc. at 704-637-7814.