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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 and Cultural Affairs and Winterfun, Inc. 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 2022 event is scheduled for Thursday, February 10 through Sunday, February 13. 

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 by January 7, 2022. There are no artist stipends or cash awards available to sculptors or sculpting teams. Sculptors must provide their own tools. Blocks are prepared in advance for sculpting to start on Thursday morning. Lunchs and heating areas are provided for sculptors. Review the competition requirements for proposal stipulations and submission methods.

Volunteers are needed on Tuesday, February 8, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to prepare the blocks of snow for the sculptors. Work in involves physical labor, climbing ladders, and long periods of time in the cold. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Danielle Stowell at the Dubuque Museum of Art at 563.581.9688 or

Community Snow Sculpting and Family Activities

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

To continue ensuring the health and safety of our community amidst ongoing COVID-19 concerns, this year's Winter Arts activities will continue to include: 

  • Interviews with sculpting teams throughout the week via Facebook
  • Suggesting snow-sculpting inspired activities that families can do at home
  • Encouraging drive-by or socially distanced on foot viewing of completed sculptures
  • Online voting for People's Choice award

Check out the 2021 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.

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