Season’s Greetings 2017!

Drum roll, please! The winner of the annual Smithsonian winter card contest has been announced. The winning design is a fitting symbol of One Smithsonian and how we work best when we work together.

The Smithsonian is an inspiring place, full of talented and creative people. When he began his tenure, Secretary Skorton began a new annual tradition that shares a bit of the wonder of working here with friends and colleagues across the globe in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year.

In October, we asked the Smithsonian community for help in designing the Smithsonian winter greeting card. We received many creative and imaginative submissions that captured the essence of the Smithsonian in art, animation and photographs.

We’re delighted to announce this year’s winner, the inspiring design, “Peace Dove,” created by the children of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (ages 3 to 6) and submitted by art educator Carolyn Eby.

The artwork was created by five of SEEC’s classes after viewing the art of Kelsey Montague and her “What Lifts You” campaign. Some of the young artists created the dove’s feathers, which represent what makes them feel happy; others printed the design on the paper used to make the feathery blue body of the dove.

“We can all learn a lesson from this project,”” Eby says. “Working together peacefully and collaboratively leads to art that can ‘lift us up!’”

In a tradition they began years ago, Secretary Skorton and his wife, Dr. Robin Davisson, used this image as their inspiration for a haiku they wrote for the Smithsonian’s winter greeting.

“Your work is inspiring, and you showcase it in different ways every day,” Dr. Skorton says. “When Robin and I arrived at the Smithsonian in 2015, we wanted to share this creativity by holding a contest to design the Institution’s Winter Greeting Card. The contest is now in its third year, and we again received many wonderful submissions from across the Smithsonian.

“Congratulations to Carolyn and our young friends at SEEC, and great thanks to everyone who submitted something for the contest.

“Robin and I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a healthy and joyful new year. We are grateful to be part of the Smithsonian family, and we look forward to working with each of you in 2018.”

Start thinking now about your submission for next year’s contest and check out the rest of the 2017 finalists. Congratulations to everyone who submitted a design!

2017 Winter Card Finalists

Submitted by An Almquist

Collage of images from Kusawa exhibition at Hirshhorn

An Almquist, Volunteer

Submitted by Denise Arnot

Watercolor of bear in the snow

Denise Arnot | Art Director | Office of Advancement
Haiku. The image enhances the poem and honors the reopening of the Freer | Sackler

Graphic design of card with panda in the snow

Denise Arnot | Art Director | Office of Advancement
Card 2 is a trifold, the cover is diecut “LET IT SNOW” and either the pandas or the snow scene would be peeking through as you open it up.

Submitted by William C. Blandy

Impressionist drawing of Castle in the snow

William C. Blandy, Office of Visitor Services

Submitted by Erica Page Brewer

Heart shape dug into beach sand

Erica Page Brewer, Volunteer

Submitted by Melba Brown

Composite image of three balck and white photos of orangutans

Melba Brown
Animal Keeper, Primates and Pandas
National Zoo

Submitted by Melissa Chen

Painting of penguin family

Melissa Chen, Volunteer
I wanted to depict a sense of family through my piece in the spirit of the holiday season. Penguins mate for life, raising offspring in extremely harsh and cold conditions while remaining loyal to each other. Similar to the penguins, the Smithsonian brings together families from all of the country to appreciate art and history.

Submitted by Colby Coltharp

Kaleidescopic image of snowflake

Colby Coltharp
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Submitted by Joshua Contois

Close up of pine cone in snow

Joshua Contois
Volunteer Coordinator, Office of Education and Outreach
Sequoia Cone in Snow
Yosemite National Park

Submitted by Laurence J. Dorr

Winter canyon with snow-covered pine in foreground

Laurence J. Dorr
Chair, Dept. of Botany, National Museum of Natural History
Growing up in New England I learned to associate snow with the winter holidays. The attached photograph evokes winter to me even though I recently took it in very late summer in Yellowstone National Park. It also reminds me of the iconic painting “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” by Thomas Moran, which is now on display in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Our compositions are different but both emphasize the dramatic Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River framed by the yellow rock of the canyon walls.

Submitted by Jacqueline Dubin

Drawing of people throwing paper into the air

Jacquelin Dubin
Gallery Guide and intern at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
I was recently inspired by the Ann Hamilton piece “at hand” that’s part of the recently opened permanent collection show What Absence is Made Of.  It features simple machines that release translucent sheets of paper from the ceiling and a recording of the artist reading a poem about the function and beauty of the hand and handiwork.  The irony is that the machines resemble a human action (throwing paper from a balcony while you read a poem), but have replaced the hand like it has been replaced in industry.  The beauty of it is that museum visitors have absolutely loved it.  They put the “hand” back into the artwork.  It’s a piece that requires participation.  People of all ages have come into the room to play with the fallen paper.  The whole scene reminds me of children playing in fallen leaves or snow.  
 I thought it was an appropriate and unique scene to submit for the winter card.

Submitted by Lila Ferber

colorful abstract painting

Lila Ferber, Intern at Smithsonian American Art Museum
Ice Mountains, oil.

Submitted by Ariel Gory

Drawing of various radios

Ariel Gory
Education Specialist/National Musuem of American History
My card features 9 radios from collections at the following Smithsonian units: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The card is hand drawn with pen and crayon.

Submitted by Ani Gupte

Fish-ey view of rushing stream

Ani Gupte
IT Project Manager/OCIO
Knowledge is the water of the mind –
Water is a prime component of the physical ecology and critical for sustainability of natural resources. Flowing water reshapes lands, borders and physical landscapes. Rivers!
Knowledge is a key component of the human mind and vital for sustainability of intellectual development. Knowledge diffusion fosters thinking, creativity and advancement. Smithsonian Institution!

Submitted by Sarah Jorgenson

Watercolor of a giraffe adorned with lights

Sarah Jorgensen
Docent at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and a Smithsonian Faculty Fellow

watercolor of palm tree with Christmas lights

Sarah Jorgensen
Docent at SAAM and a Smithsonian Faculty Fellow

watercolor of polar bear

Sarah Jorgensen
Docent at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and a Smithsonian Faculty Fellow

Submitted by Trenton Jung

Pencil drawing of panda holding candy cane

Trenton Jung
Smithsonian Enterprises
Media: Colored pencil on toned paper.

Submitted by Diane Kidd

watercolor of Castle surrounded by various cartoon-like artifacts

Diane Kidd
National Air and Space Museum

Submitted by Amy Lemon

Mandala design featuring whales, butterflies and amphibians

Amy Lemon | Program Manager | Office of Fellowships & Internships | Smithsonian
This was created as a memento for the 2016/2017 James Smithson Fellows to mark the end of their prestigious fellowships here. Instead of certificates of completion, I designed and created an original example of the attached for each of the four fellows.
 The theme of the 2016/2017 James Smithson Fellowship was conservation. The design I used incorporates the four important areas of research conducted by these fellows: whales, butterflies, caterpillars, and frogs.  The design was also inspired by the exquisitely decorated manuscripts from the Art of the Qur’an exhibit at the Sackler and one of my favorite Smithsonian memories: Many years ago a group of Buddhist monks were invited to create a large mandala in the Great Hall of the Castle. It was remarkable and inspiring to watch their design take shape as they carefully and painstakingly added colored grains of sand to the mandala. After many weeks when their mandala was finally done they carried it out of the Castle and released it into the Potomac River.

Submitted by Merit Myers

I’m submitting my holiday card as an animation.  I thought a card that takes sound as a means of communicating positive greetings fits well with the Smithsonian’s pursuit of understanding about our physical world and the cultures therein.  I hope you enjoy this snow ball cruising the crests of a snow bank sound wave with some hip-hop inspired accompaniment.

Merit Myers
Visitor Service Associate
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Submitted by Phoebe O’Dell

pen and ink sketches of various buildings and motifs

Phoebe O’Dell
Management Support Assistant, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
I sketched all 19 museums/institutions plus the elephant zoo entrance and I incorporated motifs and symbols from four holiday celebrations: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Diwali.

Submitted by Nimesh A. Patel

photo of iceberg in foreground, with Saunders Island in background

Nimesh A. Patel
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
The picture was taken from near the Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, where the Smithsonian has a presence since 2016, with the Greenland Telescope project. The picture was taken at late night in August 2016, viewing north from Thule, and the land mass behind the iceberg is the western edge of the Saunders island. The Smithsonian Institution has been involved in studies of north polar regions in the arctic circle since 1850s (
I hope my picture conveys the beauty and serenity of this place, but also the fragility.

Submitted by Carolina Rivas

My son, who is obsessed with frogs, made the drawings on the card (he adores amphibians). I hope the Smithsonian community enjoys our tropical version of the holidays!

Carolina Rivas
Administrative Assistant for Design and Construction
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Submitted by Crystal Sanchez

Collage of various images

Crystal Sanchez
Digital Asset Management System/OCIO
Collage created with images publicly available on the Smithsonian Newsdesk

Submitted by Ann Sunwoo

Healthy Holiday

Ann Sunwoo
Graphic Designer
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Submitted by Danielle Vingelis

Henry the elephant in the rotunda of NMNH

Danielle Vingelis, Volunteer, National Museum of Natural History


Submitted by Libby Weiler and Howard Kaplan

Animation of sleigh ride using wood cut images

Libby Weiler and Howard Kaplan
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Our holiday card celebrates American Art and invention through an image from SAAM’s collection as well as the inclusion of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, the former Patent Office Building, currently home to two Smithsonian museums. The image, a beautiful rendering in deep red, white, and blue uses the colors of the American flag to depict what we may now consider a nostalgic holiday tradition: a sleigh ride through the snow. Our sleigh lands happily in front of “The Temple of Invention” and lights it up, so the building itself becomes a painted work of art. Our card honors American art, invention, and the new technology that helped us create the card, allowing us to pay tribute to the past, honor the present, and look forward to the future.


Submitted by Kelly T. S. Williamson

Colorful night sky with Seasons Greetings superimposed

Kelly T.S. Williamson
Chandra X-ray Center/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
“A Cosmic Winter Wonderland” (

Submitted by Yunhui Xu

Watercolor of stag

Yunhui Xu
Volunteer, Smithsonian Associates

Submitted by Agnes Yackshaw

Line drawing of artifacts from the Smithsonian

Agnes Yackshaw
Volunteer, National Museum of Natural History
I was inspired by all these many kinds of coloring books for adults, and families, which are popping up all over the internet and in stores, including Smithsonian stores.  
 I thought in these stressful times, it would be nice for everyone to come to Smithsonian and de-stress; come to Smithsonian to enjoy the myriad of science, art, history, culture and community which makes up the world’s largest museum complex!  And, of course, everyone can relax, de-stress and color this year’s holiday card as a nice reminder of the artifacts, collections and museums of Smithsonian.


Posted: 20 December 2017
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.