Locals brave winter weather to see ice carving exhibition

Leslie Cusano

Dining Services cook Mitch Schrader begins his ice carving sculpture by outlining the figure. The event, “Make Mine with Ice,” was held Saturday in downtown Kent in an attempt to bring more cultural events to the city. HEATHER STAWICKI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

Despite the wind, cold, rain, snow and even a little hail, locals still bundled up and went to the Home Savings Plaza in downtown Kent Saturday to see “Make Mine with Ice,” the fifth annual ice carving exhibition presented by Standing Rock Cultural Arts.

“It’s a beautiful way to create a public art exhibition,” said Jeff Ingram, executive director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts.

Ingram said the exhibition was a Downtown Innovative Community Event, a grassroots partnership between Standing Rock Cultural Arts and downtown businesses. The purpose of the group is to revitalize downtown Kent through cultural events.

“It’s pretty special to have these people come out and share their talent,” Ingram said. “We’re fortunate to have people come out and create public art.”

Mike Musial, one of the three ice sculptors at the event, said he picked up ice carving while working as a student at Kent State Dining Services.

“It’s just artwork,” he said. “If you practice it enough, you’ll get it.”

Although his intricate sculpture, a tree that said “KENT” on the bottom with a black squirrel on top, took about an hour to complete, Musial said he doesn’t draw or paint.

And though he laughed and explained that he got “sucked into” doing the exhibition, he said the event was worthwhile.

“You have people out here,” Musial said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Anna Carney, sophomore business management major, and her twin sister Allison Carney, who goes to Eastern Michigan University, said they were walking downtown when they saw people gathered at the Home Savings Plaza and decided to stop by.

“It’s wild,” Anna said. “I don’t know how anyone would get into that. It’s an underappreciated form of art.”

Allison agreed.

“It’s unique and different,” she said. “I’m definitely impressed.”

Rose Furtney, the cafe manager at Professor’s Pub, manned a table and served two kinds of coffee and pastries to the chilly spectators. Furtney said Professor’s Pub only recently started serving coffee, so it was important to be out at the event.

“Anything to do with Kent’s cultural arts we want to be involved in,” she said.

Cary James, owner of Stahl’s Bakery, also had a table at the event and sold cupcakes, Valentine’s Day cookies and freshly baked bread.

James said she has had a table at each year at the annual event, but is still impressed by the carvers.

“I don’t have any artistic talent, so to take a big block of square and see them turn it into something not square is pretty cool,” she said. “I admire that they’re doing something so artistic.”

She said she loves to see what kind of creations the sculptors will come up with.

“No pun intended,” she said. “It’s just way cool.”

Contact arts reporter Leslie Cusano at [email protected].