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Winter Arts Snow Sculpting Festival - The State of Iowa's Official Snow Sculpting Competition

Every year, Dubuque celebrates the Winter Arts Snow Sculpting Festival in its downtown Washington Park. This free, family-friendly event is produced by the Dubuque Museum of Art in partnership with the City of Dubuque's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Typically the 2nd full weekend in February, teams of professional, amateur, and collegiate artists sculpt Thursday through noon on Sunday transform 288 cubic feet of snow into masterful works of art. 

A winning team is chosen and offered the opportunity to represent the state of Iowa at the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, WI the following year. A People's Choice selection is also chosen through online and in-person voting from noon to 4 p.m. following the call for 'tools down' on the Sunday of the festival weekend.

The 2023 Winter Arts Snow Sculpting Festival took place Thursday, February 9 through Sunday, February 12, with community festivities on Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

Call for Artists and Snow Stomping Volunteers

Creatives of all skill levels from across the state can participate in this event by submitting a snow sculpture proposal in early January each year. New in 2023, cash prizes of $1,000 for the State of Iowa title winner and $300 for the People's Choice award winner were offered. Sculptors provide their own tools. Blocks are prepared in advance for sculpting to start on Thursday morning. Lunch and warming areas are provided for sculptors. Review past competition requirements for proposal stipulations and submission methods.

Volunteers are scheduled the Tuesday prior to sculpting from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. to prepare the blocks of snow for the sculptors. Work in involves physical labor, climbing ladders, and extended periods of time in the cold. Those interested in volunteering should contact the Dubuque Museum of Art at 563.557.1851 or to be added to the roster of future volunteers.

Community Snow Sculpting and Family Activities

The Winter Arts Snow Sculpting Festival festival offers a free, family-friendly gathering with hands-on activities, food and beverage vendors, and People's Choice voting in Washington Park and inside the Dubuque Museum of Art from noon to 4 p.m. on the Sunday of the festival week. Activities include a community snow sculpting area with preformed blocks of snow and tools provided for anyone to try their hand at snow sculpting.

Check out the 2023 recap video to see sculptors in action and to find out who won!

The Winter Arts Snow Sculpting Festival and Competition is a sanctioned WinterFun, Inc. contest. It is produced through a partnership between the Dubuque Museum of Art and the City of Dubuque and supported in part by Sundown Mountain Resort, Truck Country/Kemp Trucking, Conlon Construction, Selco Inc, KWWL, Black Hills Energy, Forget-Me-Not Landscaping, Weber Concrete, HyVee, Key City Creative Center, Jimmy John's, Papa John's, and Wicked River Event Production.

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