Illustrations between ice

Froid d’Art presents Kingston with frozen artworks

David Dossett’s ice artwork sits outside of the Kingston tourism office.
David Dossett’s ice artwork sits outside of the Kingston tourism office.
Froid d’Art showcases illustrations frozen inside blocks of clear ice.
Froid d’Art showcases illustrations frozen inside blocks of clear ice.

A Queen’s alumnus is making the most of the winter season by bringing art to Kingston’s streets.

Froid d’Art is an outdoor art project launched this year by David Dossett, ArtSci ’83. It consists of 14 artworks individually enclosed in ice and placed at 14 different locations in Kingston, including The Mansion, Rideau Public School and several private homes.

The works consist of drawings on 14x36 pieces of mylar — each by a different local artist — sealed in 300-pound blocks of clear ice. The blocks remain outdoors and are placed on a light, which illuminate the art at night. “I thought, ‘How are we going to have art outside?’ and then I thought, ‘Let’s put it in a block of ice and since it’s dark, why don’t we have it lit up,’” Dossett said. Dossett, who began spearheading the event this year, originally envisioned this project as a solo exhibition for himself. He specializes in acrylic landscape art, drawing inspiration from the Group of Seven.

“In the winter, there’s really not much after Christmas, so it’s kind of dull because everyone puts stuff away and there are no lights or anything,” Dossett said.

“I thought it would be nice to have an outdoor display, and that would be kind of a unique way of getting art in front of people because it’s very public.” Dossett said he opted to make it a collective showcase after speaking to local artists who expressed interest in contributing to the project. According to Dossett, the hardest part was determining how to construct and install the sculptures.

“I thought of all different things like maybe taking a clear block of ice and cutting it, putting the art in and putting it back together,“ Dossett said.

“But my kids who are in engineering at Queen’s right now, they said it wouldn’t work because you’d get air inside of there.”

He ended up calling Ice Culture, the same company that produced the clear ice for the Canadian Tire ice truck.

Each block cost $340 to produce, totaling to just under $5,000 for the project.

Dosset received $1,000 in grant money from Awesome Kingston, a foundation that provides grants for startup ideas like Froid d’Art. Businesses and homes that housed the artwork on their property donated $150 each, and artists contributed $25 but were reimbursed by Dossett.

The rest of the costs were shouldered by Dossett.

He added he wants to improve the social media reach of the Froid d’Art festival for next year. He said that he would like to see more Queen’s students get involved.

“Anybody can do this, but I think next year what we want is a lot of interest from Queen’s, especially something from arts,” Dossett said.

“There’s a lot of creativity, there’s things I cannot think of. I know Queen’s students would blow us away with their ideas.”

Toronto-based artist Lori Kallay is one of the artists taking part in the Froid d’Art show. Her work is on display at The Rosemount Inn.

“The point of the show is to get people outside, even though it’s been a wickedly brutal cold winter, and to get them to discover their neighbourhoods and communities,” Kallay said.

“You get a real sense of place by walking around and seeing everything.”

Much of Kallay’s art focuses on natural landscapes, and so the piece that she submitted to the exhibition was a sharpie-drawn landscape of birch trees.

Kallay added that the exhibition, which she described as Dossett’s “brain child”, showcased his creative vision and passion for his community.


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