As a cold snap hits Madison, downtown’s Lisa Link Peace Park saw some icy artwork over the weekend with the installation of six ice sculptures.
Professional ice sculptor Maurie Pearson created the exhibit, which included a gingerbread man, nutcracker and winter sleigh with packages inside.
The ice sculpture event was part of the Downtown Madison Holiday Open House, Madison Business Improvement District Director Mary Carbine said.
The Open House, which included a wide range of family activities, took place in downtown Madison over the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving and worked to highlight downtown shopping, Carbine said.
However, Pearson said her inspiration for his sculptures originated in the kitchen.
“I got into ice sculpting because I used to be a chef and in the kitchen we would do it a lot for events or seafood displays or sunday brunches and I always kind of enjoyed it,” Pearson said.
He became a full time ice sculptor after he left his job as a chef and said he just really finds ice a fun medium to work with.
Pearson added there is little competition in the business due to the fleeting nature of his work.
“It’s great job security,” Pearson said. “As soon as [the ice sculptures] are gone you have to do one again and not many sculptors can say that.”
He said his training in the kitchen and his job as a chef meant he was used to his creations being enjoyed and then disappearing.
Carbine said the Business Improvement District hired Pearson and his company, Black River Ice Sculptures, after a positive experience in the Madison winter festival last February. He was very popular at the time, Carbine said, adding that her associates thought it would be a great idea to bring him back for the Holiday Open House as well.
“There were a lot of people who came to view him sculpting on Friday and the sculpture set-up in Peace Park on Saturday as well,” Carbine said. “And the weather cooperated as well so they didn’t melt too quickly!”
Carbine said the sculptures were mostly gone by Sunday, but they had a lasting effect for the entirety of the Holiday Open House weekend.