Long Center Trustees Donate Holiday Tree

Cliff Ernst is the Chair of the Long Center’s Board of Trustees. In celebration of the Holiday Season, Cliff and his family donated and decorated a beautiful purple themed holiday tree, which is now on display in our Kodosky Lounge. We recently chatted with Cliff about this gift to the Long Center and to Austin:


Cliff, can you talk about the significance of the tree…what motivated you to make this gift?

I knew the Long Center budget was tight and I wanted our patrons to experience a little holiday cheer so I decided to offer a tree and draft my family and some friends to help with the project.

Did your whole family take part in the selection/decoration?

Yes.  My concept started as a simple little tree with inexpensive lights and maybe paper ornaments.  Then I spotted that nice tall tree on sale.  My wife Martha suggested the purple lights to be true to the Long Center “purple” brand and I found purple LED lights at Home Depot.  From then on it was a slippery slope.  I spotted “designer” Martha Stewart ornaments at Home Depot.  Then Martha thought we need more “bling” so we made a trip to Hobby Lobby for more glitz and glitter.  We drafted our friends, the Garza family, to erect the tree.  The biggest surprise came when we plugged in the lights.  Who knew that 800 purple LED lights would make such a powerful purple glow!

The Long Center is Austin’s Creative Home ™, and around the holidays, it becomes even more like a home to so many Austinites…why do you think the Long Center figures so prominently into the holidays for so many Austin families?

Each year since the Long Center first opened its doors almost five years ago, more and more Central Texans have had an opportunity to come to the Long Center to experience the joy that the performing arts bring to our lives.  Our executive director, Jamie Grant, likes to remind us that one of the most powerful aspects of the performing arts is the life long memories they create.  Our mission is to be the place in Austin where all types of performing artists can share their creativity and talent with the community.  What better way to create wonderful holiday memories than to experience a great show together at the Long Center?

What do you hope people get out of this gift….what will they take away from seeing this beautiful tree?

I hope our tree reminds people of how fortunate we are to live in Austin, where even a “weird” purple holiday tree can be at home in Austin’s Creative Home.

Have you started thinking about any New Year’s resolutions…?

Eat less and see more shows at the Long Center.  Happy holidays!

Thank you, Cliff.

Again, the Ernst/Garza family Holiday Tree is on display at the Long Center in our Kodosky Lounge. We invite you to stop in and see it for yourself..feel free to take photos, and we encourage you to post them on your (and our!) Facebook and other social media pages.

Thank you, and Happy Holidays Austin!

Posted in Our Place, People |