For the past five years, there’s been something pretty unique and interesting illuminating parts of the city in the coldest, darkest months of the year.
Froid’Art, the project started by David Dossett and Martello Alley, is now installed throughout the area, with some of the frozen art installations as far away as Napanee. Over 100 pieces of art have been encased in 300 pound blocks of ice since this event began in 2015. Over those years, Dossett and Martello Alley teamed up with local artists and downtown businesses to create and exhibit these amazing displays.
Twenty pieces of art are now on display at various downtown Kingston locations. But for Dossett, this will be the last year for Froid’Art… unless something changes before next year.
“I’ve enjoyed the fact that it’s brightened up those dreary winter nights in our limestone city,” Dossett said of the project.
“And I’ve also enjoyed working with local artists and giving them a new way to display their work.”
However, the amount of work Froid’Art takes on Dossett’s end – compounded by the fact most of those who purchase the frozen art pieces to display at their businesses or homes wait until the last minute to put their orders in. This results in a lot of work leading up to and during the holidays for Dossett, who also runs Martello Alley, and has his own life and family to think about at Christmastime.
“There are artists who depend on me and Martello alley,” he said, noting he receives no grants or funding for Froid’Art, which is not sponsored by any organization or a part of FebFest.
“I need to make sure I am healthy and able to continue that, and the amount of work this project puts on me is a strain.”
However, if those who want to purchase the installations would do so earlier in the year – or even just commit to wanting a piece with a deposit – Dossett said he will consider doing the project again.
“Ideally, we would start for next year right now,” he said, adding that businesses like Quattrocchi’s Specialty Foods, who allow him to use their loading bay free of charge, help make Froid’Art possible.
Still, for Dossett, Froid’Art has been a labour of love, and one that’s given Kingston a truly unique winter feature.
“Nowhere else does anything like this,” Dossett said.
“You can always find ice sculptures, but what we do is completely different. And it really helps bring people outside to enjoy our city in the winter.”
With Froid’Art 2019 now in full swing, you can view the art at any time, day or night. The pieces are illuminated, so bundle up, take a stroll around the downtown neighbourhoods and take a look at the talented artists’ work – and don’t be afraid to touch the ice-lodged art, or dust snow off the displays after we get some snowflakes flying, Dossett said.
Froid’Art runs from January 17 until February 28, but is entirely weather dependent. As the ice melts, those who have purchased the installations can pull the artwork from inside the ice to keep forever, Dossett explained, but the ice displays themselves are only here until they melt. So get out and enjoy, Kingston! You won’t be disappointed.
For a map and complete list, visit the Google Maps page created by Froid’Art.
Anyone interested in purchasing installations for next year, or helping to ensure the project isn’t waiting until the last minute to begin, contact Dossett at Martello Alley.
With files from Jessica Foley.
Enjoy a gallery of some of this year’s Froid’Art pieces here:
All photos supplied by David Dossett.