Snow carvers Tom Queoff, Mike Martino, and Mike Sponholtz made their annual trek to Wausau in late January to carve their 18th monumental snow sculpture at the Woodson Art Museum, a tradition that began in 1990.
The subject and style of this year’s sculpture were influenced by a clay figure included in the Museum’s current exhibition, Las Artes de Mexico, on view through April 11. The figure, dated 300 BC – 400 AD, represents a seated ball player from Colima, one of thee states on Mexico’s western coast known for abundant and refined clay production.
Team USA choose this figure because it is holding a ball and they saw it as a snowball. In fact, the ball player would have held a solid rubber ball that was used in a popular game throughout Mesoamerica in Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec cultures.
The snow sculpture does differ from the original. A draped cloth was added over the giant figure’s extended right arm to add support, thereby extending the life of the sculpture. And it worked; the sculpture is still standing and in relatively good shape almost a month later. To spiff up this added element, Team USA carved the exhibition’s title into the cloth.
A new twist to this year’s snow sculpting experience was intern Matt Foss’ filming of the process. He spent nearly fourteen hours tending the camera while Team USA went about its business. The discs were handed over to media specialists at Charter Communications who have sped up and edited the film to create a six-minute start-to-finish snow sculpture spot for Charter-on-Demand channel one. As soon as the spot goes live, I’ll post an update here.
If you haven’t seen this year’s snow sculpture, I encourage you to do a drive by soon before the temperature warms up. The seated ball player is especially beautiful at sunset when colored lights tint the snow.