A gingerbread replica of the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art has a new home during the Christmas season.
Each year, the Augusta Museum of History presents the Gingerbread Village, a holiday extravaganza involving historic structures designed in gingerbread. For eight years, Kevin de l’Aigle and his mother, Katie DeLaigle have won a bid on one gingerbread sculpture and donated it to Augusta Oncology, a division of AO Multispecialty Clinic.
“The first one they did was the DeLaigle House,” said de l’Aigle, who opts for the original French spelling of his last name.
His family wanted to support the museum by bidding on that original structure , but when they won the bid, they weren’t sure what to do with the piece because it was so large, he said.
Katie DeLaigle had the perfect solution. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had gone to the oncology practice for her chemotherapy treatments.
“They were so nice there,” she said.
However, she noticed the expressions of some of the patients as they came in for treatment.
“They had such bleak faces,” she said.
The thought of finding a way just to bring a smile or to help people dealing with cancer to take their mind off their treatments for a short period of time was the impetus for the donation to the oncology practice, both mother and son said.
The exhibition ended at the museum on Nov. 27, and de l’Aigle delivered the sculpture to the medical practice on Nov. 29.
He watched one woman coming out of the office Tuesday, and when she saw the gingerbread sculpture, she did smile.
“There’s just something so special about the magic of a gingerbread house at Christmas time, and as replicas of historic area landmarks, these gingerbread houses are extra special. It feels like the holiday season has officially arrived when the DeLaigle gingerbread house rolls in! Each day we get to hear the ‘oohs” and “ahs’ as hundreds of patients stop by to admire that year’s carefully crafted masterpiece. Joy is contagious, and we are so thankful to the DeLaigle family for sharing this sweet joy with us during the holiday season,” according to Courtney Prouty, marketing manager.
For de l’Aigle, the museum’s gingerbread village has come to signal the start of the holiday season in a way that nothing else does, he said.
“I don’t really get into the holiday spirit until this happens,” he said. “The switch flips.”
Fashioned by members of the Augusta Technical College Culinary Arts Department, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art gingerbread sculpture won this year’s people’s choice award.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Subscribe to the newsletter here.