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Snow sculptures, possible statewide festival takes shape in Clayton | Arts and entertainment

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CLAYTON A partnership between a veteran and award-winning snow sculptor and another sculptor / artist, also award-winning but not in the middle of the snow, creates cool scenes around the village.

Along with the current River Muse Art Gallery exhibition, Winter on the River, Serge Sigouin and Kristy L. Askins Hoover are creating two snow sculptures at 229 John St. Gallery and another at Winter Park in Lions Field.

The displays could be a warm-up act for something bigger.

According to Michael Robbins, managing director of New York-based Friends of Sculpting Inc., the nonprofit is in talks with village officials to bring its snow sculpting competition to Clayton next year.

I like the idea, said Robbins. It’s a small community. When we produce an event, it brings a lot of tourism.

The snow from the Clayton sculptures, in framed cubes, has hardened for several days from last Saturday. The carving began on Thursday.



Clayton eyes for state snow sculpture event

Thursday, Kristy L. Askins Hoover and Serge Sigouin map one of their three snow sculptures before sculpting it at the River Muse Gallery in Clayton. Kara Dry / Watertown Daily Hours




Mr. Sigouin and Ms. Hoover’s snow sculpture team first discussed forming a team to compete nationally and internationally about four years ago.

We met years ago and chatted, Ms Hoover said. We had a mutual friend. He showed me the work he did with snow sculpture and I showed him my work of sculpting and drawing everything I do.

The team finally gelled in December of last year, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has ruled out competition. They take this opportunity at the River Muse Gallery to hone their skills.

Mr. Sigouin, Evans Mills, is a two-time New York State Snow Sculpting Champion with experience in numerous national and international competitions. He is originally from Terrebonne, Quebec, and learned the art and skills of snow sculpture from a locally renowned artist and sculptor. Jerry Merrill.

Mrs. Hoover, from Watertown, shows her work at River Muse and is an award-winning multimedia artist. One of his drawings, a graphite on bristol board, was shortlisted as the R. Paul Saphier Memorial Award for Best Drawing last fall at the 72nd Annual North Country Arts Council Fall Art Show.

Ms. Hoover received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Studio Art from SUNY Oswego. She sketched the plans for snow sculptures and is a recruit in the art of snow sculpture.

Growing up I always made snowmen and snow forts and everything in between, Ms. Hoover said. I understand the medium, but it’s completely new. I am used to working with clay and other mediums.

But snow sculpture could offer him a great learning opportunity.

I always wanted to be able to work on a larger scale, Ms. Hoover said. It’s a great way to work on a larger scale and the support is inexpensive.



Clayton eyes for state snow sculpture event

Kristy L. Askins Hoover, left, and Serge Sigouin, Thursday, trace one of their three snow sculptures before sculpting it at the River Muse Gallery in Clayton. Kara Dry / Watertown Daily Hours




The two snow sculptures in front of the River Muse Gallery will be geometric shapes, with cubes, spheres and cylinders resembling symmetrical pillars.

The one at Lions Field will be completely different and much more complicated, Ms. Hoover said.

One side of the sculpture will feature a skull and the other a face sculpted with a mask and winter hat.

This one is much more conceptual and more complex in its design, with the idea behind everyone of experiencing COVID in the winter in upstate New York and when you walk around with face masks on you really can’t identify the ones. people. We were sort of losing our identity, Ms Hoover said.

The artistic couple’s original plan was to create a single sculpture.

I’m doing three now, Ms Hoover said. Hopefully it will become something more.

Mr. Sigouin, who competed in the 2018 and 2019 US National Snow Sculpting Championship in Lake Geneva, Wis., Is a member of the board of directors of Friends of Sculpting Inc. He noted that there was no of snow sculpting competitions across the state this year due to the pandemic.

Next year, I hope things change, everyone gets vaccinated and can have an event together well, he said. Everyone has cabin fever. It would be nice to put a smile on countless faces. This is one of the reasons we were doing a few sculptures so that people could see things and do a little bit of advertising for the snow sculpture at the same time.

Mr. Robbins said the statewide competition is held annually in the state to promote art.

We saw Clayton as a very nice community which is an artistic community, he said. I will try to work with them in a partnership to produce a state competition.

When we have an event somewhere, it attracts about 70,000 people and it brings in two to three million dollars in the community, between hotels and restaurants and gas, Mr. Sigouin said. It brings a lot of people.

The potential lack of snow will not be a factor.



Clayton eyes for state snow sculpture event

A block of snow sits at Lions Field in Clayton on Thursday before it was sculpted. Kara Dry / Watertown Daily Hours




I’m in touch with companies that can come for a nominal fee and we can make artificial snow on site if they don’t have a lot of snow, said Robbins.

Creating snow, he said, would cost less than hauling it from a place like Tug Hill.

Mr. Sigouin said that international competitions can feature sculptures 20 feet long and 10 feet high.

When you have a 100 ton block of snow, it’s fun to play with. You can do creative things with it, he says.

Clayton’s sculptures in process are 4 by 4 feet at the base and approximately 6 feet high.

Mr. Sigouin said it was fun educating Ms. Hoover about the intricacies of snow carving.

I used to steal it, he said. I want to let her learn. If she wants to be technical, no problem.

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