The interactive public art event “Winter is Alive! A cooler world carnival” opens this weekend in Madison. This event focuses on climate change and uses art as a catalyst for environmental change.

Featuring outdoor sculptures and performance art events, this festival turns the frozen lakes of Madison into a gallery for art installations and community dialogue. Events include outdoor art installations, video projections at the Garver Feed Mill, live-streamed performance art events and community participation through virtual gatherings and forums.

Public art is installed all over Madison featuring work from students, faculty and community members. Printmaking MFA candidate Derick Whycherly’s flowing fabric installation “Renewal Without End” is installed in the UW Arboretum, Sculpture Faculty Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades of Actual Size Artworks’ “Sad Yeti” sits slumped over in the snow at Law Park, and Madison community member Carlee Latimer’s bright yellow “Staple Board” can be seen on the sidewalk at James Madison Park.

Carly Schmidt, What we Break and Build and Return to the Earth, at Olbrich Botanical Gardens
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“The goal of Winter is Alive! is to create venues for personal reflection, environmental dialogue and provocative inspiration,” Artist and Artistic Director Tamsie Ringler said.

Tamsie’s sculpture “North Pole Project” is installed on Lake Mendota and can be seen from the Terrace at Memorial Union.

The white-painted steel structure resembles an oil rig or industrial farm equipment and almost fades into the background of the snow-covered lake. Based on the steel outline of a deepwater floating platform, this piece is illuminated with plastic holiday lights, inviting viewers to consider the relationship between our lifestyle and climate change.

“The Dying Iceberg” is a large-scale sculpture installed on Lake Wingra using art to express the relationship between people and nature. This piece was designed by Latvian artist Ojārs Feldbergs and was constructed (and installed in sub-zero temperatures) by UW Sculpture graduate students Ian Van D. and Brittany Weekley.

A larger-than-life blue wall made of wood and fabric, this piece changes the landscape of the lake and calls to mind the anthropogenic climate change which is causing the icebergs to melt.

Madison Golden, “My Daily Impact”
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UW alumni Madison Golden’s project “My Daily Impact” is an interactive website that allows you to recognize how your own daily habits can impact climate change in the short and long-term.

By clicking through the colorful illustrations you can learn about your own personal impact on climate change. 

There were plenty of ways to participate in Winter is Alive! from the comfort of your warm home. Events were live-streamed on Twitch, featuring artists working in narrative, spoken word and performance art. Participants joined in for an international climate exchange discussion on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. or will join in the forum on organizing activism around climate change on March 2 at 7 p.m.

Live-streamed events will be projected outdoors at the Garver Feed Mill the evening following the event. During the week of Feb. 12-18, the Wisconsin Film Festival will project short films onto the side of the building — including Elizabeth Wadium’s “North” and Joseph V. Brown’s “Winter Cranes.”

Also at Garver Feed Mill are artists’ projects, including MFA Sculpture candidate Matthew Vivirito’s “Withdrawn,” a towering sculpture made from ashwood and Aaron Granat and Thomas Ferrella’s video project, “Shadowlands.” Carly Schmidt’s sculptural installation made from wood and paper pulp, titled “What we Break and Build and Return to the Earth,” can be found at the nearby Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Winter is Alive! can be experienced throughout Madison from Feb. 12 through March 7. Find more information through the website and interactive map, as well as on Instagram and Twitch.

“Winter is Alive!” is sponsored by the City of Madison Arts Commission, Sustain Dane and Garver Events with assistance from Clean Lakes Alliance, Dane Arts, the Madison Central Business Improvement District, the Madison Metropolitan School District, the UW Arboretum, Wisconsin Salt Wise and the University of Wisconsin Sculpture Program.

Tamsie Ringler and C Murphy, “North Pole Project”
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The event was organized by Tamsie Ringler with help from Marc LaPointe and Anna Orbovich.