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)
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)
snowmen become canvases for local artists
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.”
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
Editor’s note: For further information about Snow People on Parade, telephone the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at 356-5701, ext. 350.