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Cayuga County Artist Designs Ornament for Capitol Holiday Tree

Cayuga County holiday ornament going on display in Albany. (Used by permission of Sandy Shutter, Artistic Impressions)

Halloween hasn’t even happened but some people are already preparing for winter holidays.

The New York State Office of General Services will set up a winter holiday tree in the governor’s reception room at the capitol. Each of New York’s 62 counties has been invited to submit an ornament representing themselves on the tree.

Cayuga County’s ornament has been completed and is ready for submission. It showcases the county’s history of industry and innovation, focusing on Theodore Case, the Case Research Lab, and the invention of sound-on-film.

Designed by local artist Sandy Shutter of Artistic Impressions, the ornament incorporates gears, filmstrips, and a steampunk aesthetic to tell the story of the man who made movies talk. Shutter told Finger Lakes News Radio she wanted to give wider recognition to the underrepresented film industry pioneer.

“I’m not sure a lot of people know about the impact Theodore Case had on sound and motion pictures… so I wanted to use that image.

Aside from the historical connection, Shutter believes this will set Cayuga County apart from the other counties in the state.

“I thought the aesthetic of it would be perfect to make a really different, cool ornament from Cayuga County.”

The ornament also incorporates the design Shutter had previously made for artwork hanging on streetlamps throughout downtown Auburn.

When the ornament departs for Albany, it will carry with it a piece of Auburn and Cayuga County as the ornament itself is encased in a shadowbox made by Shutter’s partner Bill Clark of wood taken from Theodore Case’s former mansion at 108 South Street in Auburn.

On December 14, 1922, the Case Research Lab was able to successfully record the word “hello” onto a strip of photographic film, ushering in the end of the silent film era.






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