The halls of the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) are heavy with anticipation for the annual exhibition of community-decorated Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree Forest is a five-decade tradition originating shortly after the opening of the 53-year-old museum, then the McAllen International Museum or MIM. This annual holiday event is the brainchild of the IMAS Guild which began the tradition of organizing community entries featuring a unique tree resplendent with hand-made ornaments and decorations showcasing the chosen theme.
As a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing and the popularity of the Space Age, this year’s theme is Nostalgic Christmas of the 60s and 70s. Entering school and community groups are encouraged to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Science (STEAM) along with a spirit of goodwill. Trees will be decorated in the days leading up to the November 24th opening. The public is invited to attend the awards ceremony on December 8, at 2 p.m. when the IMAS Guild with the help of a celebrity panel of judges this year – Dora Brown, Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager of IBC Bank; Albert Alaniz, Owner of JohnAlbert Talent and Models Agency and A JohnAlbert Salon; and Charles E. Thompson, Jr., long-time museum supporter – will announce the winning trees. This esteemed panel are all McAllen citizens with a heart for the community.
“As a community-created museum, IMAS is honored to partner with community groups in presenting the traditions and cultures of the people in the RGV,” said Ann Fortescue, IMAS Executive Director. “Museums have important roles in their communities to serve as crossroads of discovery where audiences of all ages are invited and encouraged to learn through museum experiences.”
Community engagement is year-round at the IMAS. Student art exhibitions from both McAllen ISD and Sharyland ISD are featured annually in the Welcome Pavilion. This year, the UTRGV philosophy department is presenting a series of community talks at the museum exploring the connections between art and science. Cultural festivals and events are presented in collaboration with community organizations and groups. The exhibition of community-created Dia de los Muertos altars anchor the annual celebration of this popular event, and Lunar New Year engages Asian communities in the RGV who come together to share their cultural traditions of welcoming in a New Year. Lunar New Year will be celebrated at the IMAS on Saturday, February 8, 2020.
The Christmas Tree Forest will be on exhibit November 24, through January 4, 2020, in the Welcome Pavilion of the IMAS and is included with daily General Admission. Sunday admission is free thanks to the support of a grant from the H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue at 1900 W. Nolana in McAllen, Texas. Hours of operation are closed Mondays; Tuesday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month, IMAS is open until 8 p.m. Log onto https://www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 681-2800 for more information.