Sweet Snow-Sculpture Dreams

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on January 27th, 2016

While the 2016 snow sculpture took shape at the Woodson Art Museum last weekend, a massive snowstorm blanketed the Eastern seaboard with up to 30 inches of snowfall.


Winter in central Wisconsin certainly has been mild by comparison. In mid-December we worried we wouldn’t have snow for Christmas, and I began to wonder if we’d have enough snow for the Museum’s snow sculpture. Fortunately, by late January enough had accumulated for Wausau’s public works department to gather a truckload for the 11-foot-tall snow block carved by Team USA. As in the past, Mike Martino, Tom Queoff, and Mike Sponholtz created an outstanding sculpture that makes us all proud.


Team USA – Mike Martino, Tom Queoff, and Mike Sponholtz.


Long before the first snow flurries, we decided the snow sculpture would be a snow-globe-like version of Ann Cunningham’s sculpture, Wynken, Blynken, & Nod, part of her Forest Folklore: A Multisensory Experience exhibition, on view through February 21. The low-relief stone sculpture was inspired by a nineteenth-century American poem, a wonderfully lyrical bedtime story about three children sailing by moonlight in a shoe-shaped wooden boat. The verse represents that special moment when a child is just about to nod off to sleep.


And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies

Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;

So shut your eyes while Mother sings

Of wonderful sights that be,

And you shall see the beautiful things

As you rock in the misty sea

Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:



And Nod.


While Cunningham’s slate sculpture is one-inch thick and 28 inches tall, Team USA’s snow sculpture is an impressive 132 inches tall. Its size is intended to beckon visitors inside to explore Forest Folklore, American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony and artwork from the Museum’s collection.


Wynken, Blynken & Nod with colored lights

Be sure to drive by during the evening to see the snow sculpture lit with blue and gold lights highlighting the water, full moon, and stars.

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