Artist tells story of family in creation for Macy's holiday windows

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SALT LAKE CITY — It's been a holiday tradition for thousands Utahns over the years: making the trip to downtown Salt Lake to see the holday candy windows at Macy's City Creek, and before that ZCMI.

For the creators of the annual art display, the pieces also represent a lot of hard work. For one artist this year, it also tells a story of family.

Pam McMurtry created a candy ornament that features a Santa Claus face on one side and a group of Christmas stocking on the other side. Like the five other ornaments in the display, Pam's Santa rotates so people can see all sides of it — and all the candy it took to create it.

Pam said her piece was the perfect way to share her family history with the community.

"My great-great-great-grandfather actually was the director of ZCMI back in the day they moved to this building, in 1876," she said.

The family connections don't stop there. Most of the items on the ornament are also connected to Pam's family.

"The little horse is a little stocking horse we used to make for our children when they were small," she said. "The duck was actually my husband's; it was a toy his parent shad commissioned for him when he was a toddler."

Any other project would not be as much fun, 'cause we got about halfway in and it became tedious. But it was candy, and how can you not have fun playing with candy?

–Pam McMurtry, artist

The process began in July, when Pam submitted her design to Macy's for consideration. The final designs were selected by officials at Macy's corporate headquarters in New York City. Once approved, she and her fellow artists got to work bringing their ideas to life.

"The artists usually start off-site, then we come in (the store) for the last couple of weeks," said Chad Young, visual manager for Macy's at City Creek.

For Pam, "off-site" meant her dining room, and that meant a big impact on life for her family. Her design assistant, and son, Tim McMurtry said the project "made everything kind of feel busy" and made "a big mess." But with Tim's help, and that of and a few other people, Pam was able to bring her design to life.

"Any other project would not be as much fun, ‘cause we got about halfway in and it became tedious," she said. "But it was candy, and how can you not have fun playing with candy?"

In the end, she created something for every little kid to dream about.

The windows will be open to the public through the end of the year, then in March the preparations for the 2014 windows will begin.



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Janelle Hanson


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