Choose Outdoors and US FS announce Capitol Christmas Tree Art winner

Choose Outdoors and US Forest Service announce 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree art contest winner, theme: "Into the Woods"

Arvada, Colo. Based Artist, Cheryl St. John's “Awaiting Spring” Awarded Grand Prize

DENVER (October 15, 2012) – The White River National Forest and its nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors today announced Arvada, Colo. based artist, Cheryl St. John's “Awaiting Spring” has been selected as the official artwork to represent the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The newly expanded art contest placed a national call to professional, emerging and youth artists to submit artwork that fit this year's theme, “Into The Woods.” Choose Outdoors received more than 100 juried art exhibition entries from 48 artists in 12 states, and five judges selected 13 winning works.

This year's contest was the first national call for artists. All 13 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree juried art exhibition winners' artwork will comprise a traveling exhibition that will accompany the Capitol Christmas Tree along its designated route from Meeker, Colo. to Washington, D.C. this November.

“This has been one of the most exciting awards of my painting career, and I'm honored that my piece, ‘Awaiting Spring,' was chosen as the official artwork to represent the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree,” said St. John. “Colorado has the most beautiful landscapes in the country, and the White River National Forest inspired my depiction of a majestic Colorado winter day.”

St. John was awarded a $2,000 grand prize, and an additional $2,000 cash prizes were awarded to professional and emerging artist entries. This year's Tree will hail from the White River National Forest, which is where St. John painted her winning work.

“Cheryl's philosophy and painting fit seamlessly with the mission of Choose Outdoors and this year's Capitol Christmas Tree theme. She is a very gifted plein-air artist, and her love of Colorado's open spaces really shines through her artwork,” explained Carmel Koeltzow, juried art exhibition coordinator. “We received a lot of incredible submissions. All of the winners deserve recognition for their talented entries.”

St. John is a fourth generation Colorado native with a great appreciation of nature and environment preservation. Her artwork will serve as the Capitol Christmas Tree song contest compilation CD official cover art, which will be hung in the Chief of the Forest Service's office for one year and then displayed in the Capitol Christmas Tree permanent collection.

“We were very pleased with the number of submissions we received and the quality of artworks we saw from the 48 individual artists,” said Bruce Ward, founder of Choose Outdoors. “The entries creatively captured our ‘Into the Woods' theme, and we appreciate everyone's effort and ingenuity.”

To see St. John's winning artwork, visit Interested media can request an interview with St. John by emailing

Costs associated with the tree's transportation and tour events are made possible by contributions of cash and in-kind services by individuals, corporations and local communities. Major sponsors include the Colorado Tourism Office, U.S. Forest Service, Mack Trucks, The National Association of Convenience Stores and Vail Resorts.

For more information on the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and to track the tree's route, visit You can also follow the tree on Facebook:, Twitter: and Pinterest:


About Choose Outdoors:

Choose Outdoors is a coalition for outdoor recreation comprised of people and organizations who are passionate about outdoor recreation, support public lands, waters, and the agencies charged with their care.

About the White River National Forest:

The 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is located in west/central Colorado. Providing a vast array of outdoor recreation experiences, the White River hosts more than 9 million visitors per year and is the number one forest for recreation in the country. In addition to world-class recreation and abundant wildlife populations, the White River supports activities such as grazing, timber harvest, mining, and oil and gas development that are crucial to the economies of western Colorado.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carly Grimes,, 720-289-9366


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