Cold never bothered art anyway: Froid’Art brings frozen art to downtown Kingston

Outdoor art event encourages residents to get out and explore

Image supplied by: Supplied by David Dossett
Froid’Art brought winter magic to downtown for the eighth year.

Froid’Art and its ice-encased art pieces are returning to Kingston this month. 

The outdoor art event, running annually since 2015, will feature paintings by local artists frozen into blocks of ice and sprinkled throughout downtown.

The event aims to liven up downtown Kingston during the chilly months. David Dossett, the owner of Martello Alley, the art gallery organizing Froid’Art, explained the process of creating art for the event and partnerships formed with Kingston-based businesses.

“Our artists create paintings on plexiglass, and we have them frozen into ice blocks for an outdoor winter art show in downtown Kingston,” Dossett said in an email to The Journal. “Local businesses and individuals sponsor the art [and] in exchange, they get to keep the art once the ice melts.”

The vision for a winter-long public art project arose from a desire to get people out of the house and engage with their neighbourhoods. For Lori Kallay, PR manager at Martello Alley, getting people outside and connecting them with local art is her favourite part of Froid’Art.

“I think what I love most is the intention to get people outside; to have a dual experience of enjoying the winter air and seeing amazing art,” Kallay said in a press release. 

“[Froid’Art] creates an environment to observe, to forget about the daily mundane things we all face and gain a renewed sense of community.”

The content of the art pieces varies, but their beauty extends beyond their surface. Kallay believes they are a powerful tool for connecting people to each other and the world around them.

“[The pieces] are like giant paper weights that have the superpower to unite a community, to bring a smile to our cold cheeks, and inspire us to really see what surrounds us. 

Although Froid’Art aims to get people out of their houses, the event was held online last year due to COVID restrictions. This year, with the return of physical pieces in downtown Kingston, the event promises to give frigid winter-time walkers more than just cold hands and red ears.

The frozen art is a technical marvel. While freezing pieces of painted plexiglass while may seem impractical, it didn’t restrict artists’ creativity and imagination.

“We (the artists) all started with the same basic tools: a 16” x 36” piece of clear Mylar, some Sharpie markers or acrylic paint and a desire to contribute,” Kallay said.

“There were no riles on our imagery; we could go where our inspirations took us.”

Perhaps during the coldest months of the year, we need a reminder of why it’s important to go outside. Froid’Art prompts us to recall the beauty of the world and all we stand to gain by opening our front doors and observing it.

For those interested in immersing themselves in Froid’Art’s wintry pieces, more info can be found on Martello Alley’s Instagram


Art, Art Festival, winter

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