“Growing up, my family would host a Christmas Eve dinner. Our family friends were from Italy and would bring delicious homemade meatballs, marinara, and Italian desserts. So we basically had a taste of Italy every Christmas Eve,” says Jonnie Hartman, the artist behind The Grand America’s 2022 Window Stroll. This warm holiday memory is reflective of the global adventure that Jonnie has brought to life through this year’s stroll. “I loved the idea of celebrating traditions from across the globe, like showing glimpses into other cultures and sparking curiosity, making the viewer want to take a deeper look into what ties us all together.”
This instinct, to ask viewers to take a deeper look, is central to Jonnie’s work as an artist. “My goal is to share a bit of the whimsy that inspires me with the public, possibly putting a smile on their face, or making folks take a moment out of their busy day to pause and look around.”
For Jonnie, becoming a working artist was a question of when and not if. “I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I come from a family of artists and knew, from a young age, that I’d be working in the arts in one form or another…During my time at college my emphasis was in fine arts painting. However, I quickly found out that gallery art and traditional painting was not meant to be my path.”
The path meant for Jonnie was set on a slightly larger scale. “I love making large art installations, and the physical aspect of building and making an idea come to life in 3D.” This work has brought Jonnie a lot of acclaim. In 2012, her public art sculpture, “Glide, Soar, Fly,” was named one of the Top 10 Sculptures of the year by Southwest Art Magazine.
And, this season, Jonnie’s large-scale sculpture expertise comes to The Grand America in the form of 14 intricately designed holiday window displays. “The Window Stroll was inspired by the art of Richard Scarry (famous for his human-natured animal drawings in children’s books) and the art of Mary Blair (most famous for the colorful art inside Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World ride). They both created fantastic illustrations that brought cultures together in a colorful and spectacular way that adults and children alike could identify with.”
As viewers travel from window to window, they will closely identify with Fig, a Utah field mouse who finds himself visiting friends all over the world to see how they celebrate the holidays. “I love that animals are used as the characters because it adds a magical element.” Part of the magic of this display is the invitation to find Fig in each of the tableaux. “Sometimes you’ll find Fig easily and sometimes it’s a challenge! This detail of the stroll makes the windows more interactive and special.”
The 2022 Window Stroll is an invitation to come together, to gather with loved ones and experience the magic, variety, and detail of the work Jonnie and her team put together. “I believe at the end of the day there is more that ties us together than separates us. All of these traditions [shown in the Window Stroll] are celebrated by gathering friends, family, and loved ones, and that’s the glue that brings us all together.”
The “Celebrate the World” Window Stroll will be on display at The Grand America from November 1st 2022 – January 1st 2023. Guests and locals are invited to come and experience the magic, alongside our amazing life-sized Gingerbread House, with no entrance fee. To learn more about Jonnie Hartman and her art, you can follow her work on Instagram.
Special thanks and recognition to the entire team that put together this year’s display: Lead Illustrator: Missy Turner (missyturner.com); 3D Character Design: Star Primm (@mytinystar); 3D Detailing: Avery Herbert (@avery.herbert.art), Kristen Cordova (@kristen_cordova); Textile Detailing: Logan Eileen Ferreira (@loganeileen); Art Embellishment: Hailey A. Parnell (@haileyparnellart), Holly Wilkens (@hdw_parkcity); Paper Arts: Emily King (emilykingart.com); 3D Art: Nancy Browning Smith (@steampinkrobots).