Sculpture contest spawns striking snow art during shutdown


An artistic battle of cold components, the West Nipissing Public Library’s inaugural snow sculpture contest got a warm reception from a community looking for something to do in an endless shutdown.

“We can’t do things as we normally do, we can’t have as many activities, but we still wanted to try and find a way to involve the community and get people out and doing stuff,” says library CEO Emelie Keenan. “We thought, the weather is nice, we have a good amount of snow, why not do a little contest and try and get everyone out and active?”

“We had, I believe about 24 entries, which we were really surprised and really happy with. Because it went over so well, maybe we’ll look at doing something similar in the future.”

April Senecal and her family have plenty of experience creating art out of ice and snow at the Field Winter Carnival. Without the carnival running this year, the library’s contest was something they could easily take part in from home.

“I’m just trying to encourage the kids to be outside as much as possible, so we’d do it even if there was no prize,” she says. “It’s also free, so we’re supporting the local library without paying anything to enter. So, you’re supporting community activities by showing them: yes, organize more activities for the kids, we want to participate.”

The Senecals made the winning sculpture: a colourful gumball machine that collected 145 likes in the online vote. They also had the third-place finisher: a huge homage to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar that got 77 votes.

“We consider snow to be nature’s Play-Doh,” says Senecal. “We build a lot of things because it’s fun and it keeps us busy outside, it gives you something to do beyond snow machining and stuff like that.”

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