Make Frisco brings illuminated ice sculptures to Frisco Historic Park
About a year ago, the Make Frisco arts collective had just hosted its first public art event, “Frozen Frisco,” and the newly formed group’s members were excited for the possibilities that 2020 held.
“It really started us out with a bang,” said Melissa Sherburne, the group’s co-founder and a Frisco Town Council member. That was such a fantastic event, and we were really energized. And then COVID hit.”
That was the only event the group hosted in 2020 as the pandemic created new challenges for members, many of whom were working to stay afloat. Despite the setback, the group has kept in touch and is hoping to recapture some of the energy it had at the start of 2020 with an ice luminary display at the Frisco Historic Park & Museum.
Called “Winter Light,” the display consists of ice sculptures throughout the park, all of which are focused around the idea of light, and most of the sculptures incorporate some form of illumination into them.
The intent of the display is to support one of the town’s strategic goals to bring more art into public spaces in Frisco, said Rose Gorrell, the museum manager for Frisco Historic Park & Museum. Gorrell also serves as a liaison between the group and the town, which provided $25,000 in seed money to Make Frisco in 2020.
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Gorrell said the group really wanted to bring a little brightness to town and allow visitors to interact with the pieces in a way that could support physical distancing. The park seemed to be a good fit for fulfilling that goal.
“Being on Main Street and having a large place, the Historic Park was a location we naturally gravitated to,” she said.
The artists were largely left on their own for how to embody the theme of light, and Sherburne said that brought out a wide variety of creative results from a group of artists who don’t have a background in sculpture.
“We’re so familiar with the term ‘ice sculpture,’ but how this is different is the artists wanted to use ice as a medium rather than just a sculpture,” she said. “You didn’t know ice could look that way or create something like that.”
All of the artists worked on the project on their own time and were able to install their works throughout the day Saturday, Jan. 16.
Sherburne, who doesn’t consider herself to be an artist but “art-minded,” worked with her family to freeze discarded mask-making materials into their ice sculpture, which also allows the piece to reflect different colors.
“(The materials) take on a completely different meaning,” she said. “It looks like stained glass and snowflakes.”
Diane Harty Schlaefer, a hat maker with a studio in Frisco, incorporated some of her hat-making materials into her piece, which includes bubbles of ice created with a fishing net meant to catch good thoughts for 2021.
“I use translucent horsehair braid in some of my hats, so I thought it would be good to add color without heaviness,” Schlaefer wrote in an email. “The horsehair is so pretty in the sunlight. I added some lime green in spots on the net (of reds/pinks/corals) to show that things in life need repair, and I know fishing nets get repaired a lot.”
Schlaefer added that she hopes the group will be able to do a joint project in the summer.
Sherburne is optimistic 2021 will see more opportunities for the group to engage with the community. There’s talk of doing a poetry event once warmer weather arrives as well as some “more interactive, experiential” art events in the future.
The group is also looking for more Frisco-based members who would be interested supporting their mission of “bringing the community together around art.”
“If people are interested in participating, we’d love to have them,” Sherburne said. “You just need to love art and love creating.”
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