Young Ae Kim, an associate professor of graphic design at USD, used laser-cutting technology to create 12 identical paper sculpture ornaments. She said her inspiration was South Dakota’s treasures, trees and vast open spaces. Kim grew up in Seoul, South Korea, with few natural surroundings, moved to South Dakota in 2008 and fell in love with the natural beauty of the state's ever-changing landscape.

South Dakota’s national parks include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Missouri National Recreational River.

“It is an honor to be selected because South Dakota has become a new and lovely experience from where I grew up,” she said. “This project gave me the opportunity to share a part of my journey and design with everyone who sees it in Washington, D.C.”

Kim joins local artists from each state, territory and the District of Columbia in designing ornaments for the National Christmas Tree. The designs were inspired by America’s national parks and its programs that will pay tribute to the upcoming National Park Service’s centennial in 2016. The 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting will be Thursday, Dec. 3.

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