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Students Take Part in ‘Super Bowl’ of Visual Display with Macy’s Window Creation

In late August, when the days were still warm, nine students in Matt Monson’s visual merchandising class began thinking about Christmas, with the goal of producing one very large ornament that now hangs in one of the Macy’s holiday window displays in downtown Salt Lake City.

The group met on and off in a small room at SLCC’s Fashion Institute for three weeks, brainstorming and drafting ideas on paper and white boards for the ornament’s theme. They came up with “One Sky,” an idea that represents many cultures and individuals, coexisting under one sky. “We wanted to find a theme that was unifying and celebrated the holidays in its myriad looks and forms across the continent,” Monson said.

Students hung a huge Styrofoam ball – about 48 inches in diameter – with an internal wood frame in that small room, and for the next 10 weeks used 120 pounds of candy, 12 pounds of glue sticks, six pounds of silicone caulk and more than 50 metal skewers to assemble their collaborative creation. Throughout the process, students Katie Crose, Charrisse Fuhriman, Michelle Guanuna, Alivia Matchett, Yukako Ogura, Andee Ramirez, Tracy Robbins, Samantha Salas and Sarah Santistevan were able to meet and work with Macy’s National Window Director, Roya Sullivan, and the local Macy’s visual merchandising team at City Creek Center.

On a chilly Nov. 15 evening, Monson and his students gathered at Macy’s for the big reveal on a sidewalk packed with people, many of whom mark the viewing of these windows each year as the official start of their holiday season. For the students’ hard work and creativity, the ornament becomes an arrow in their professional quiver as they prepare to enter the workforce.

“This project means a lot to the students and SLCC as an institution because this is a very highly visible visual merchandising project, one that will attract thousands of visitors in a 45-day timespan,” Monson said. Students get the opportunity to speak with the public, as well as local media, about their artwork. “For my students, this is likely one of the largest creative projects they’ve ever worked on. In many ways, this annual event is Salt Lake City’s Super Bowl of visual display. To the students, this is a foot in the door with a strong professional piece for their portfolio.”

Matt Monson (rear) and students reveal SLCC's ornament in a Macy's holiday window.

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