News in Cortland NY

Ice as Art at Chill-A-Bration

SUNY Cortland Artists Add Creative Energy to March 1st Event.

Through the support of SUNY Cortland’s Art and Art History Department the March 1st Cortland Chill-A-Bration celebration of winter in Upstate New York has a creative element.

On February 28th SUNY Cortland Professor Vaughn Randall and his students will begin creating snow sculptures at historic downtown Cortland’s Court House Park. Based on the winter theme of Chill-A-Bration three snow sculptures will introduce SUNY Cortland sculpture students to large scale out-door work.

“This is an exciting addition to the March 1st Chill-A-Bration celebration for Cortland,” said Lloyd Purdy, Director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership. “Support from SUNY Cortland and SUNY Cortland students really help make downtown events better.

”The biggest snow sculpture is planned to be 8 feet tall, 8 feet long and 2 feet wide in the shape of a snowflake. “A three-dimensional snowflake fits Chill-A-Bration’s theme and much as all snowflakes are unique, so is this event,” said SUNY Cortland Professor Vaughn Randall.

Professor Randall is modeling these works of art after a snow-sculpting event in Breckenridge Colorado. The Chill-A-Bration snow sculptures will include 50 junior and senior students from the SUNY Cortland Sculpture I and Sculpture II class with the 10 best students acting as a carving team.

The student sculptures will be cube four feet on each side. Students will work through a “reductive process” that takes packed snow away from the block – much like a stone sculptor. They will use tools created especially for the Chill-A-Bration snow sculpture project including loops of steel, an ice auger and snow trowels.

“This project gives students an opportunity to work on large scale out door art while teaching them the value of community involvement which is a core value of SUNY Cortland,” said Professor Vaughn Randall.

In preparation for Chill-A-Bration on March1st in historic downtown Cortland’s Court House Park Professor Randall and 10 students will travel to SUNY Cortland’s Racquet Lake facility to practice and refine the process of packing snow into a form, called a ”flask”, and shaping the form into an image.

“I’m from Atlanta, most of my career has been spent working with 2700 degree Fahrenheit molten iron,” said Professor Vaughn Randall. “This is an exciting change.”

The finished product of this project will be on display at Court House Park during Chill-A-Bration on March 1st. Local business and organizations are also welcome to compete in an amateur snow sculpting competition at Court House Park on March 1st. Applications may be picked up at the office of Cortland’s Downtown Partnership at 9 Main Street in historic downtown Cortland.