The Ephemeral Nature of Snow

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on February 8th, 2017

Wisconsin winters can be unpredictable. Throughout twenty-seven years of coordinating the Woodson Art Museum’s monumental snow sculpture project with the Team USA trio, we’ve experienced capricious weather. Some years, bitter cold and windy conditions were followed by balmy weather. During other years, sculptures were melting while being carved. Sufficient snow usually isn’t a problem, yet a lack of snow forced cancellations a few times.

This year, after waiting a week to let rain and warm temperatures pass, freezing temperatures returned and the snow sculpture is holding up nicely.

The 2017 sculpture complements the Museum’s current exhibition Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light. Team USA carved an oversized lampshade with cutouts depicting three dragonflies, a motif often used by Tiffany Studios. Blue LED lights illuminate the interior to resemble stained glass; clear lights at the base suggest lamp light. Red lights were added to the sides of the sculpture to contrast with the blue interior. We couldn’t be happier with the results.


Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, Queens, New York, includes many examples of leaded-glass lampshades with beautiful floral designs and windows featuring figurative and landscape imagery. One of my favorites is the Wisteria Library Lamp, a “show stopper.” Designed by Clara Driscoll, the lampshade includes nearly 2,000 small pieces of glass in shades of blue.

Like the transitory nature of a winter snow sculpture, the Tiffany glass exhibition is fleeting, too, remaining on view only through Sunday, February 26.  Bring friends and family to bask in the glow of the snow sculpture and the exhibition, before both slip away.

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