Welcome to

Snow People on Parade

PRESS PAGE 1

Thank you to Pilot Spons
or,
Settlers' Green Outlet Village
for helping to launch
this new public art program in the valley.


The following feature story appeared in the Mountain Ear

Snow People on Parade is the Valley’s latest venture in street art,
a project designed to run concurrently with this year’s Winter Carnival.


Snowpeople as Art
Sandy Hall, an art teacher at Kennett High
stands next to the fiberglass snowman she decorated
with a mosiac of stained glass in a design
inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s swirling skyscape “Starry Night.”
Hall’s creation will join 14 other decorated snowmen in
Snow People on Parade for Winter Carnival.

(Gabrielle Griswold/Mountain Ear Photo)
 
Snow People on Parade, coming to the Valley for Winter Carnival, is providing a new medium for certain local artists including Sally Dinsmore (right). The fiberglass snowmen are a brainchild of Cindy Russell (left) and Dot Seybold (center). Valley businesses are commissioning the decoration of snowmen who will be displayed as part of the Valley’s Winter Carnival beginning Feb. 26.
(Gabrielle Griswold/Mountain Ear Photo)
 

Fiberglass snowmen become canvases for local artists

Watch for snow people coming to Winter Carnival

Snow People on Parade, coming to the Valley for Winter Carnival,
is providing a new medium for certain local artists
including Sally Dinsmore (right).
The fiberglass snowmen are a brainchild
of Cindy Russell (left) and Dot Seybold (center).
Valley businesses are commissioning the decoration of snowmen
who will be displayed as part of
the Valley’s Winter Carnival beginning Feb. 26.
(Gabrielle Griswold/Mountain Ear Photo)

By Gabrielle Griswold
Thursday, February 2, 2006

 

SNOW PEOPLE? Well … maybe yes, maybe no. They might be snow people; on the other hand they might be snowman-shaped canvases for artists to decorate as they see fit. That’s the idea behind Snow People on Parade, the Valley’s latest venture in street art, a project initiated this past October and designed to run concurrently with but separately from this year’s Winter Carnival.

“About three years ago I got the idea of having some kind of public art project to synchronize with the winter carnival,” said project coordinator Cindy Russell. “It seemed like a fun way to celebrate this time of year, but it wasn’t until October that Dot Seybold [general manager of Settlers’ Green Outlet Village] and I got together to discuss it. I discovered that Dot has always been interested in finding ways to fund outdoor art, and thanks to her, Settlers’ Green agreed to become project sponsors and purchase the snowman mold for the figures that local artists would be decorating.”
The two women already knew about fiberglass art and knew that this particular kind of project had been successfully undertaken in other cities.

Sometime during the 1990s Chicago had launched one of the earliest of such projects, choosing a cow to represent their beef industry. Later, New York had chosen a ‘big apple,” Bennington, Vt., a moose, and Madrid, Spain, a bull. For Mt. Washington Valley in winter, a snowman seemed an appropriate symbol, Russell said.

“A real snowman made of snow wouldn’t last,” she explained, “and we felt that whatever we did here should be permanent, so the fiberglass idea seemed a good one.”
WITH WINTER CARNIVAL 2006, a family celebration of winter, scheduled to run from Feb. 26 to March 5, initiating the Snow People on Parade project as late as October put considerable pressure on organizers, business or private sponsors, and artists to complete it in time to coincide with that event.

“Settlers’ Green played a leading role in business sponsorship of this project,” Russell noted. “They said they’d help get it started by paying for the snowman mold, purchasing one snowman and commissioning an artist to decorate it.”

The right person to create the mold and subsequent fiberglass snowman figures had to be found. This turned out to be Raymond Paul of R.P. Creations in Berlin.
Once he agreed to do the job, other businesses were then approached and each asked to purchase an undecorated snow person, select the artist of their choice to decorate it, and pay that artist’s commission.

“Our first goal was six snowmen,” Russell said, “then 10, then 12, then a baker’s dozen, until finally, as more and more businesses came on board, we now have 15 snow persons to place around the community, all decorated in different media by different local artists.” One local business leader, Joe Berry, commissioned three of the figures, one for display at the Eastern Slope Inn, one at Norcross Circle and one in Reporter Court. “The whole idea,” Seybold explained,” is having art out in public for people to see and appreciate. We also hope this project will bring home to people how many excellent artists we have here in the Valley.”

FOR THE ARTISTS INVOLVED, the project has proved novel, challenging and fun. As Russell points out, “A six-foot-tall snowman is an unusual canvas as the artist has to design and decorate a textured, three-dimensional surface in the round.”

Local artist Sally Dinsmore Baldwin agrees. She told us that her original sketches for a mountain scene at sunset had to be redesigned to accommodate the rotundity of the “canvas.”
“I had to take a two-dimensional picture and curve it,” she said, adding that to create the scene she is using an oil-based sign painter’s paint. Ultimately, she said, she will be designing two snow models, one for her own business, Gold Leaf Frame & Gallery, the other commissioned by the Conway Daily Sun. “I’m having a ball with this,” she said. “I’d never worked on anything round before. I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

Kennett High School art teacher Sandy Hall has chosen mosaic rather than paint for her snowman, the one commissioned by Settlers’ Green. Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s swirling skyscape, “Starry Night,” she depicts Mt. Washington Valley scenes and symbols beneath a similar sky, which incorporates the snowperson’s facial features. For Hall, the mosaic process involved breaking colored glass into small pieces and gluing them into place with construction glue. Upon completion of her snowman, she will apply a polyurethane finish to weatherproof it against outdoor exposure.

For White Mountain Puzzles in Jackson, artist Ernie Brown designed a snowman puzzle, with some of the puzzle pieces filled in by Valley landscapes and some of them left blank. (In one of the painted spaces, a small mouse peers out, returning the viewer’s gaze.)

Pupils at the Pine Tree School are using their snowperson (purchased for the school by an anonymous donor) to portray North Country seasons, beginning at the top with winter and working down through autumn to summer and spring.

Some of the snowpersons will actually be clothed as snowpersons rather than used as canvases. Essence of Art, the Center of Hope’s in-town store, will dress a snowman or snow-woman in textiles that its clients have hand-woven themselves.

Currently, the decorating of snow people is still under way, with some of them being worked on in an otherwise empty Settlers’ Green store and others wherever the artists and/or their sponsoring businesses have agreed to temporarily house them. Upon their completion, the location of all 15 snow people will be indicated on a Snow People Map & Guide that will include a ballot for people to fill in, after taking the “Snow People Self-Guided Tour,” to cast a vote for their favorites. Awards for winning creations will be made at the winter carnival’s Warm Welcome social, to be held on the carnival’s final day, Sunday, March 5, in The Tavern at the North Conway Grand Hotel.

MEANWHILE, on Friday, Feb. 3, a free and open-to-the-public cocktail reception is being hosted by the Mt. Washington Valley Arts Association, from 7 to 9 p.m. in The Ledges Room at North Conway’s Eastern Slope Inn, as a get-together for artists, sponsors, organizers and community members. Snowman mold-maker Raymond Paul will also be present. “His mold is now exclusive to the Mt. Washington Valley, copyrighted and owned by our snowman project.” Russell explained. “Raymond gave us the rights to it, and that’s one of the things that makes it unique."

For the duration of the winter carnival the painted and decorated snow people will be displayed at their sponsors’ places of business. After that they will be stored for the winter, but future plans may include their appearance on flatbed trucks in local parades or in a collective gathering around the gazebo at Settlers’ Green come summer.
“Somewhere between $18,000 and $20,000 has been invested in this project this year,” Russell noted, “but we hope that this is only the first year. Next time we may start enlisting corporate support and enrolling artists as early as August, in hopes of getting maybe another 15 or 20 snowpersons for next season.”

While Mt. Washington Valley may not end up with as many fiberglass snow people as Chicago has fiberglass cows (300 or more citywide), the object is twofold: to create street art for people to enjoy, and possibly, as Russell suggests, to innovate yet another attraction to lure visitors to the Valley.

“And locally, having this kind of art available to people who live here is one way of making art familiar and comfortable for them,” she added. “What better way to introduce people to the enjoyment of art than with something as much fun as a snowman?”

Editor’s note: For further information about Snow People on Parade, telephone the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at 356-5701, ext. 350.

Monarch Events, PO Box 934, North Conway, NH 03860
E-mail: info@mwvevents.com