From now until Feb. 25, the Performing Arts Lawn of Minnesota State University, Mankato will feature a snow sculpture by Minnesota-based sculpture duo, The Snowkitects.
Kyle Slivnik and David Prom began snow sculpting in college at North Dakota State University through sheer luck at the recommendation of a professor.
“[Our professor] knew that we enjoyed winter-time, and out of nowhere she was like, ‘there’s this big festival up in Winnipeg that does snow sculptures, you guys should apply, you’d be good at that,’” said Slivnik. “We’d never done that before, so we thought, ‘why would we do that?’”
The pair submitted their ideas, despite this doubt, and were lucky enough to catch a slot when another group backed out at the last minute.
“They got us up there, we did a sculpture, and now we’ve been sculpting for almost 13 years,” shared Slivnik.
Student Affairs contacted the duo back in December to ask if they would like to be involved, and the Snowkitects immediately got in contact with last year’s sculptors to ask if they should accept.
“The sculpting community is pretty small, and we know last year’s team pretty well. They said it was absolutely worth it,” said Slivnik.
Before the Snowkitects arrived on Friday, the Student Events Team was out on the PA lawn clearing a sculpting space and gathering snow.
“There’s a wooden form there and they fill it with snow and pack it down. It’s a subtractive process as opposed to an additive process. The snow has been compacted, and it’s a different set of tools and a different medium,” said Prom. “It’s a little bit different from an ice sculpture that you would see in a typical event.
The sculpture that Slivnik and Prom created consists of four individual pieces that come together to act as one large piece together, which was based on a theme of global togetherness.
“The three outer pieces kind of have an arch to them and in the middle will be the bust of a bull. Not necessarily the [MSU] mascot, but a generic bull form,” said Slivnik.
“Ideally, when everything is said and done, people will be able to walk through it and feel within it while still being connected to the greater campus. This is kind of our interpretation of that.”
The sculpture, which is located behind the MavFam sign, features purple LED lights that turn on at night, giving the sculpture a glow.
The Snowkitects regularly participate in events throughout the Midwest, focusing on Minnesota festivals and the like, including Ely Winter Festival, St. Paul Winter Carnival, and MN State Snow Sculpting Competition.
Header Photo: A frozen Maverick sits patiently on the Performing Arts Lawn. The sculpture was created by Snowkitects creators Kyle Slivnik and David Prom. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
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