Sunday, December 4, 2016


By Ernest & Gregory Disney-Britton
18th-century Neapolitan crèche staged inside a Baroque cabinet at the Art Institute of Chicago.
This week, Greg set-up our Nativity scene, a 400-year old tradition we share with many of you in the Alpha Omega Arts’ circle. In 1975, Greg's dad created this 18-piece scene of ceramic figures celebrating the birth of Christ as told in the Gospel of Luke and Matthew. Ten-year-old Greg Disney helped his dad cut the wood for that stable and placed the baby Jesus at its center with his parents watching over him. Today that crèche is a centerpiece of our birthday celebration of Christmas. In the past, only churches and the wealthy collected this popular art form, and one of the remaining 18th-century examples is now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Email a photo of your Nativity scene, and we'll add it to today's blog post.
The Neapolitan Creche (above) at the Chicago Art Institute – As few as ten exist in the world and three are in the US – New York, Chicago, & Pittsburgh.
For other NEWS OF WEEK from across the USA, and around the world, see below:
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CALIFORNIA: Kittridge Cherry's queer Nativity scenes for the Christmas
PENNSYLVANIA: The Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn family built lived (1939-1979) in Glencairn. Thanks for Joralyn Glenn for sharing this story.
AnnaMarie Prono's handcrafted nativity dioramas (
NETHERLANDS: Stephan Brusche's Pssst, Mary, don't flip out, but OMG, do I have some news for you!" thanks to our friends at Hi Fructose Magazine
INDIANA: Gregory Disney-Britton with his nativity scene

OHIO: African Nativity scene courtesy of Vernieda Britton
NEW YORK: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
NEW JERSEY: Sophia's French Nativity scene
OHIO: University of Dayton Crèche Collection. Courtesy of Scott Brooks


Charles Goetz said...

The pastor of the Yonkers parish in which I did most of my growing-up--the interestingly named Msgr. George McWeeney--had a fabulous creche collection which he put on display every Christmas. Wonder what happened to it.... Holiday blessings!

~ Charlie & Blanchard

Ernest Disney-Britton said...

Agreed! It would be great to know. So you grew-up in Saint Barnabas’s Church on Martha Ave? Did you attend both elementary and high school there too?

Charles Goetz said...

Wow! You're good. My sister went to the high school--all girls at that time. I went first to Cathedral College prep sem in Manhattan (555 West End Ave.) and then to Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains. After that: St. John's U. (English) and a fellowship to NYU Grad School of Journalism.... said...

Please see attached images of my handcrafted nativity dioramas.

AnnaMarie Prono

Kittredge Cherry said...

Wonderful! I’ve created my own gay and lesbian Nativity scenes, and even sponsored a contest in which others created them. I can email you some photos to share. Here are links to some of the best at the Jesus in Love Blog:

Queer Nativity scenes show love makes a family

Queer Nativity 8: Jesus has two daddies (includes all 8 queer Nativity submissions)

Kittridge Cherry said...

I create my own queer Nativity scenes for the Christmas season. One has two Marys at the manger with the baby Jesus, and the other features two Josephs with the Christ child. I put Mary with Mary and Joseph with Joseph—just like putting two brides or two grooms on top of a wedding cake! Obviously this is not about historical accuracy, but I believe my queer Nativity scenes are true to the spirit of the Christmas story in the Bible: God’s child conceived in an extraordinary way and born into disreputable circumstances. Love makes a family—including the Holy Family.