New menorah to be unveiled Sunday, just in time for Hanukkah | SteamboatToday.com

New menorah to be unveiled Sunday, just in time for Hanukkah

Artist Lance Whitner was commissioned by Har Mishpacha, the Jewish community in Steamboat Springs, to create the large scale menorah originally designed by Randy Salky. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Menorahs are traditionally made of porcelain, fused glass, crystal, silver, brass, aluminum, pewter and gold, but Steamboat Springs’s new menorah is something special.

It's geometric. It's retro. It's spontaneous. It's style resembles that of Steamboat artist Lance Whitner.

If you go

What: Community Menorah Lighting
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
Where: Heart of Steamboat Springs Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.

"I put the colors onto the panel the same way I do with my paintings,” Whitner said. “I don't have a set idea of where they will end up exactly, I just start working with them and see what happens."

In observance of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, also known as the "Celebration of Light," Har Mishpacha, the Jewish community of Steamboat Springs, will introduce Steamboat to its new menorah during a lighting ceremony 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

Har Mishpacha previously displayed a menorah made of transparent Plexiglas columns filled with LED lights, which was created by Randy Salky in 2014.

This year, Salky commissioned his friend Whitner to create a new menorah, inspired by Yaacov Agam, an Israeli artist known for his pioneering of kinetic art.

"Most menorahs are small and lit in the home," Salky said. "The idea comes from creativity and just never having seen one like this before.

"She was really the first person I thought of,” he explained. “I really appreciate and enjoy her art, the colors and light and designs."

 

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The newly designed menorah will be on display at Heart of Steamboat Springs United Methodist Church on Oak Street and lit at sunset Sunday, Dec. 2 — the first day of Hanukkah. Each night another candle will be illuminated.

An integral part of the holiday season's festivities, the Steamboat menorah has eight main branches, plus the raised ninth lamp that Salky said is the shamash, or servant light, which is used to kindle the other lights.

"I saw an image by Agam that had a triangular pattern, and I knew that was perfect for this,” Whitner said. “That's where I got the pattern from."

The 4-foot-by-8-foot panel, which will be adhered to a large 8-foot plywood stand, features a series of triangles that will be topped with candlesticks made of 3-foot fence posts and one 4-foot fence post, painted then wrapped in blue and white LED lights.

Whitner created the piece by using an equilateral triangle that was extended throughout the whole rectangular panel. Then, she pulled out the triangles and elements of the Star of David with the use of colors and their values starting with the traditional Hanukkah midway-blue color.

"It's colorful, because that's what I do," Whitner said. "It's definitely out of my comfort zone. I think it's fun to participate with my community in this way — to try new and different things. It's good for my creative brain to keep it flexible.”

Hanukkah is a tradition that originates from the light of menorahs. A candle is lit each night to symbolize the story of thousands of years ago when one day's worth of oil burned for eight days when Jewish troops attempted to purify the Temple of Jerusalem.

The menorah will be on display throughout the eight days of Hanukkah.

The community lighting event starts at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and will be followed by a young people's Shabbat Service and an adult Shabbat Service, ending with light refreshments.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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