By Alison Rooney
While Mother Nature hasn’t been overly cooperative with the “Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” requests yet this winter, someone must have heard the imploring refrain, as snowflakes have blown into Philipstown — 15 of them to be exact, none of them white and none of them melting. Rather, these 15 have been artfully placed around Philipstown: three in Garrison, two just off Route 9 and 10 in Cold Spring Village.
They’re not the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them kind of snowflakes. Instead they are 2- to 3-foot wooden sculptures, each custom cut and donated by Scanga Woodworking, with plywood supplied by N. Dain’s & Sons Lumber at cost. A completely homegrown effort, their mounting poles were created by R&G Wrought Iron Railing, and the hardware for mounting donated by C&E Paint Supply Inc., both Cold Spring businesses. Each snowflake was decorated and embellished by a local artist, all in service of a cause: driving traffic to local businesses during the winter months and stimulating excitement about the upcoming second edition of the Philipstown Winter Carnival this Feb. 7.
This project is a collaboration of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of Philipstown Recreation (FOPR), the Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) and the Philipstown Recreation Center, in association with local artists and community businesses. Taking its cue from a similar projects elsewhere, including the cows in New York City and a pointe shoe sculpture decoration project in Saratoga Springs, Joel Conybear, a member of the Winter Carnival Planning Committee, said: “We thought snowflakes would be a great project to tie together local businesses, artists and our Winter Carnival. It truly was a team effort.”
Committee members Amber Stickle, Kathy Hamel, John Maasik, MJ Martin, Claudio Marzollo and Conybear worked on customizing it for the Winter Carnival and Philipstown. They brought the Chamber of Commerce and Barbara Galazzo in as partners, and it took off from there with Conybear facilitating.
Each snowflake has been sponsored by a local business or nonprofit, and artists — who were approached by Gallery 66 NY’s Galazzo about the project — were given free rein to embellish them as they desired, independently. As locations were chosen for the snowflakes, a few enjoyed natural synergies with the establishment they matched up with; for instance Karen Madden’s snowflake features a candy-cane-munching pooch — perfect companionship for its perch just outside of Reigning Cats and Dogs, and the piece by Grey Zeien evokes driftwood, fitting for the Hudson House’s location at the waterfront. The snowflakes will be displayed around town until the day of the carnival, when they will be auctioned off to raise money for the HHLT and FOPR. Winning bids will be announced at the carnival’s finale.
Galazzo said: “It excites me to have these sculptures around town because it not only enlivens our area in winter time, it highlights those merchants sponsoring it, the artists from our area who created the snowflakes, and benefits the Recreation Center at the same time — a win-win for everyone. Working with Joel [Conybear] and the Rec Center has been a real pleasure, and I look forward to the Winter Carnival expanding.”
The snowflake sculptures were created by Donald Alter, Ada Pilar Cruz, Rebecca Darlington, Carol Flaitz, Carla Goldberg, Galazzo, Anita Jacobson, Eric Laxman, Madden, Russ Ritell, Cassandra Saulter, Galelyn Williams, Maureen Winzig and Zeien. They have been placed near sponsoring businesses: Jillian Bono of Powers & Haar Insurance Agency, B&L Deli, C&E Paint Supply, Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill, The Country Touch, Gallery 66 NY, Garrison Café, Go-Go Pops, Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Hudson House Inn, Marina Gallery, Old Souls, Philipstown Recreation Center, Pidala Electric, Pig Hill Inn and Reigning Dogs & Cats Too.
Conybear said the committee “encourages everyone to take a look and appreciate the individual details that the artists created. We are so appreciative of our local businesses for sponsoring this project. One of the goals of the Winter Carnival is not only to get people outside to play in the cold of February, but also to get people out in order to support our local businesses. We have such a beautiful town in the winter. Hopefully, more people will head outside to enjoy the art, the shops, skate on the town rink and then celebrate winter at our Winter Carnival on Feb. 7!”
The Winter Carnival, a huge success in its first go-round last year, will again involve two sites: Philipstown Recreation Center and Winter Hill, both in Garrison. A free shuttle bus will ferry carnival-goers between the two locations. Planned activities include ice skating, snow golf, music, snowman building and much more. A screening of an indoor family movie, hosted by the Cold Spring Film Society, will bring the proceedings to a close. Activities will be adjusted to fit the day’s weather conditions.
Philipstown Recreation Commission chair, Maasik is pleased that the event is becoming an annual one: “Building on the success of last year’s event, Philipstown Recreation is pleased to partner with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust once again for the 2015 Winter Carnival. In addition to the partnership with Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce for a special ‘First Friday’ event, we have other exciting new activities planned for all ages at both the Rec Center and Winter Hill locations on Saturday. It’s a great way to celebrate our community and the outdoors!”