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Watch now: Oversize Christmas cards proclaim Christmas cheer

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Sheryl Polley is one of the artists who contribute a card each year. Her theme always focuses on kindness. Christmas Card Lane will be on display at 300 N. Water St., Decatur

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Sheryl Polley taken part in Christmas Card Lane since it started four years ago. Her artwork always has kindness as its theme.

DECATUR — These Christmas cards are too big to send in the mail. So the Decatur Area Arts Council members are displaying the festive greetings for the community to see.

“I like large things. I think they’re fun,” said Jerry Johnson, the art council's executive director. “In order for them to be seen when you drive by or walk down the sidewalk, they need to be big.”

This year marks the fourth year for the public art project, Christmas Card Lane, hosted by the Decatur Area Arts Council. The cards will be on display until Dec. 31 in downtown Decatur at the corner of North Street and North Water Street in ADM Plaza Park.

Sheryl Polley has won second place for several years. “It was a challenge to me to do something that big,” she said. “Now it’s just a happy thing.”

Last year, during the volatile Christmas season of 2020, the display was ideal for a family activity. But the festivities are more exciting this year, according to Johnson.

“We just put out the word that we were hosting the event again,” he said. “People contacted us saying they wanted to be a part of it.”

Artists paid a fee of $25, which provided them with a 4-foot-by-6-foot sheet of plywood. They painted the boards for the arts council volunteers to install the weekend before the event opening. According to Johnson, more artists contributed to the display. In past years, an average of 15 to 17 cards were featured in the outdoor exhibit. 

Sponsors for the Christmas Card Lane include Dynagraphics and Lowe’s Home Improvement store with the fence posts donation from the Lions  Park in Mount Zion. “So the community is very involved in the project,” Johnson said.

The size of the boards is easier to manage for the artists as well as the volunteers installing the artwork. “It’s also a little more accurate in the proportions of what a greeting card is,” Johnson said.

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Christmas Card Lane is a competition among the artists. The public can vote for their favorite card through the art council’s Facebook page and website. “They can share with all their friends,” Johnson said. “It’s a Facebook survey, so they can only vote once.”

The online voting will have images and a biography about the artists.

The winners will be announced a few days after Christmas. Prizes include $200 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place.

Holiday themes are suggested for the images. “But it’s entirely up to them what they decide,” Johnson said.

The competition has been gaining momentum each year, according to Johnson. “We’re just excited that we have a few more than we’ve had in the past,” he said. “

Polley donates her winnings back to the Decatur Area Arts Council. Each year the subject and the design relates to kindness. “And I know what I’m going to do next year too,” she said.

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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