What started out as large squares of snow last Monday transformed over the course of the week into incredible snow sculptures in front of Driggs plaza.
Six teams did an amazing job showcasing their creative talent in front of anyone walking or driving by. Their impressive art was definitely turning heads. Sculptors had until Friday evening to complete their masterpieces.
Students from area schools visited throughout the week to learn about snow science and watch the professional sculpting teams at work. St. Anthony high school students even created their own sculpture, “Yoshi on ice”, a favorite of many young and old video gamers who enjoy Super Mario.
Alison Arnold, a member of Team Nordic, shared how much fun she had at snowscapes over the course of the week.
“The skill level has gone way up. It’s incredible! This has to be the most people that have visited the event too,” said Arnold. “There were constantly nice people coming up to us, being supportive, and offering compliments.”
Arnold smiled when talking about the young kids.
“The little kids were so fun. In lieu of all the animals around, one kid came up and told me his favorite animal was an octopus. They were expressing joy as a result of seeing the sculptures and that was neat to see and hear,” said Arnold.
Adding a smile and tribute to the kids, Mike Haroldson of Team Nordic mentioned how engaged they were with the process.
“When we were forming the Teton mountain range out of snow on the top of the cabin, some kids immediately recognized the view was from the Jackson side. They also asked a lot of questions about the 50+ tools we were using to sculpt,” said Haroldson.
Forms of 8’x8’x8’ and 8’x10’x8’ were set up in the plaza and filled with over 35+ tons of snow, for competitors to detail, scrape, chisel, and shovel snow away into masterpieces of art.
Things concluded Saturday, January 21st, with hundreds of visitors arriving from far and wide to take in the art, sunshine, cookies, hot chocolate, and even participate in the voting process.
Voting criteria consisted of:
Creativity — the newness and originality of the design.
Composition — the visual balance, static or dynamic, of the various elements of the sculpture.
Expression of meaning — how well the sculpture makes its own theme clear to the viewer.
Expression of emotion — the extent to which a sculpture can be expected to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.
Overall impression — addresses the sculpture as a whole. May be based on the first glimpse of the finished piece. Does it stand on its own as a good sculpture?
Extras — did the sculpture have interesting texture, detail, negative space, and/or freestanding elements?
The winning sculpture was “who’s caught” by Team Snowbunny Knows. The incredible ice-fishing sculpture also took home the people’s choice award. Richard Brown, captain of the team, won the one-hour quick sculpt competition for his abstract circle piece.
“You gotta go for it. That’s how you learn. All the artists on our team came together. I usually do a lot more work on a sketch or idea, but we just went for it.” Said, Brown.
Without understanding how the ice-fishing piece could remain standing on its own, many adults questioned the support of the structure.
“The pillar is enough to support all of it. Once we dug into it, we could tell how solid the block was and we knew it would support all the weight. The fish (along the outside) don’t have to support anything but themselves,” explained Brown.
Other people wondered how the artists worked on the inside of the creative structure.
“We carved around the back and then filled in with fish,” said sculptor Marlene Wusinich.
Wusinich worked inside the structure for hours and hours detailing the fish.
Joking and laughing, she shared, “There were saws that kept hitting me inside there. I was scared.”
Mary Mullaney mentioned she was asked if they made each fish individually.
“They didn’t realize it’s a removal process. We do add snow sometimes, but the whole concept of carving OUT of the box blows people’s minds.”
Second place went to the “Nordic” sculpture by Team Wyoming, an amazing tribute to the individuals that made a stake in the Tetons when life was hard and sublime.
“The inspiration for the project came from a love for the experiencing mountains, backcountry living, log cabins, and a love for family and people,” said Arnold.
The main engraving tool used in the team’s creative process was an antique ice pick with fingers. It was a family heirloom that has quite a history. It was buried 3 years ago during the snowscapes competition but found again when organizers were cleaning the plaza.
Third place sculpture was awarded to “Sleigh the dragon” by Team Winter Storm Warning. The kids seemed to gravitate toward the dragon. Not ironically, the incredibly detailed scaley sculpture also took home the kid’s choice award.
Amanda Beard, who travelled from Idaho Falls with her two friends after reading about the snowscapes event in a magazine agreed.
“I loved the dragon because of the detail. Just look at it. It’s incredible,” said Beard.
The positive atmosphere throughout the snowscapes event was easily recognizable. One thing that stood out among many during the competition was the camaraderie.
“As we were working, we’d be checking out the work of the others and even sharing tools and ideas. We (Team Nordic) shared the idea of sculpting a fish upside down in a bucket when Rich (Team Snowbunny) was trying to come up with something to show the fisherman had caught something,” said Mike Haroldson.
“It’s a great event. It’s the only one we do now. We love the people and the area. We’ve gotten to know a lot of the artists by name and communicate with them before, during, and after the event,” said Haroldson.
Snowscapes sculptures will remain in Driggs plaza for all to see. If you haven’t had a moment to check them out, hurry down. Rumor has it the dragon is breathing fire at night and destroying them one by one.