Wagon's Acceptance Speech

Julia Child has said: "Il faut metter les mains dans le pain." If you want to be a baker, you must put your hands in the dough. Four members of our team are mathematicians and we spend a lot of time looking at images on a computer screen. But, both for us and for the viewers of our work, true understanding can be obtained only by interacting with the piece in a truly 3-dimensional way. This is what snow allows us to do. In a very short period of time and with a minimum of tools we can sculpt a complicated shape and so learn much more about it. It's a glorious opportunity and tremendous fun. Thank you all for creating an environment in which we can accomplish our goals.

The hardest-working team is, of course, the organizing committee. Each year they do things that make the event better. One point I'd like to emphasize is the effort that goes into the printed art work they provide: the poster, ads, and notepaper. They are great examples of graphic design; the staff, especially photographer Carl Scofield, even manage to turn our work into a brilliant poster when there is nothing but blank blocks in the photo they use!

There is a community of artist/scientists who like to mix the two. Sometimes the mixture does not work. But I think that the audience -- both the judges and the public -- has shown itself to be fully open to nontraditional views of art, and I look forward to seeing expanded boundaries in future versions of this event.

Finally, let me briefly describe some of the steps I used to get an effective team. Bob Longhurst is a brilliant wood and stone sculptor (whom I met through John Bruning, a fan of Bob's work). As soon as I saw an image of his work in wood, I called him up and suggested he consider snow. He agreed; this was his first experience with snow carving. We are very grateful for his eye and his energy. Dan Schwalbe is a true Minnesotan. This means he is an expert ice-fisherman and, when you think about, snow sculpting has a lot in common with ice-fishing! The ice-fishing drill he uses is really tremendous at removing large amounts of snow. And he even brought me some fish that he caught last week under the ice of a Minnesota lake. And Andy Cantrell, a student of ours at Macalester College, is a native of Colorado, which adds to his altitude abilities. And he is slight in stature, which is critical for working inside and on top of the fragile sculptures we build. We had a great time and are very grateful to all of you for your vision in putting on the event, and contributing your own imaginative, whimsical, and serious designs to the great white parade.