Glow of iced art warms up downtown Kingston in cold temperatures

Froid’Art display located at Kingston Visitor Information Centre on Ontario Street in downtown Kingston. Image by David Dossett of Martello Alley.

They’re back and ready for your viewing pleasure, as they warm up some of the coldest nights of the year here in the Limestone City. Kingston’s annual free, outdoor winter art exhibit, Froid’Art, is back in-person this year, and with some cooperative weather so far for the 2023 season.

Now in its ninth year, Froid’Art — or ‘Art on Ice’ — is a local art initiative started by David Dossett of the Martello Alley Gallery and Art Space located in downtown Kingston. The exhibit sees local Kingston artists commission pieces on plexiglass, which are then sent away and frozen inside large slabs of ice. This year, 21 slabs were returned to the Alley and have now been strategically placed outside in various locations throughout the downtown core for the public to view and enjoy. 

Dossett says he had the idea for Froid’Art in 2015, after chatting with his wife about how nice it would be to get out for walks in the wintertime if there was more art along their route. While his wife agreed it was a nice idea, she called it impractical due to the fact that people would destroy or steal anything not bolted down. So, Dossett says, he had the idea that the art might last longer if it was encased in ice and proved this with a test block on his lawn. And he didn’t just prove that the ice was able to stand up to some petty vandalism — he discovered it was not only feasible, but that the ice block generated more buzz than destruction, and the idea spread from there. 

Like all things, the illuminated ice art exhibit was forced online for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Dossett to get creative and take the event online. This year will be both online and in person, with Martello Alley using Matterport virtual digital tours technology to create an interactive 3D virtual tour of Froid’Art 2023. This means that anyone in Kingston and around the globe can now go online to see the works on their phones, tablets, and laptops from the comfort of their couch, tub, or bed. 

But Dossett says there is still no comparison to visiting and witnessing these encased artworks in person and suggests you do so before Kingston’s unpredictable winter weather takes them away. 

A Froid’Art 2023 piece located at the corner of Ontario and Princess Streets in downtown Kingston. Image by David Dossett.

Check out this year’s list of Froid’Art locations (click here for a map):

  1. Tara Natural Foods — 203 B Wellington St –  “Sid” by David Dossett
  2. BMO Nesbitt Burns 67 Brock Street — “Mother of the Deep” by Amanda Boutilier
  3. Rochleau Court — “Autumn” by David Dossett
  4. Rochleau Court — “Murney the Snowman” by David Dossett
  5. Confederation Park – Tourism Kingston — ” Snowy Fox” by Heidi Larkman
  6. Confederation Park – Tourism Kingston — “The Rainbow” by Helen Baker
  7. Confederation Park – Tourism Kingston — “Cardinal Princess” by Kyla Mayne
  8. École secondaire publique Mille-Îles — “Les coyotes d’hiver” par Nithila Priya Balaji et Alexandra Secrierul
  9. Kingston Visitor Information Centre – Tourism Kingston — “YGK Kindness Rocks” by Mel Baker
  10. Kingston Visitor Information Centre  – Tourism Kingston — “Safe Greetings” by Joanne Gervais
  11. Rochleau Court – Tourism Kingston — “Amis” by David Dossett
  12. Cornerstone Canadian Art & Craft — “Tiny Islands” by Rosalyn Insley
  13. Frontenac Club — “Dream Vacation” by Lori Kallay
  14. Rochleau Court — “River of Light” by Helen Baker
  15. Rochleau Court — “Looking Forward to Spring” by Carla Miedema
  16. Rochleau Court – Bed & Breakfast — “Frozen Fish” by Erica Young
  17. Rochleau Court – Sponsored by Wally Viner — “Le Match” David Dossett 
  18. Martello Alley — “Going Nowhere Fast” by Bonnie Humber
  19. Rochleau Court — “The Audience” by Tammy Selena Tuck
  20. Rochleau Court — “Northern Dancing Lights” by Lori Kallay 
  21. Rochleau Court — “Aurora Borealis” by Tammy Selena Tuck
Froid’Art pieces on display in Rochleau Court. Photo by David Dossett.

And also new and exciting this year is the announcement that the town of Perth is joining the ranks and holding its own outdoor Froid’Art display

The small town hopes the outdoor art display will encourage some foot traffic into local stores that traditionally suffer serious slowdowns during the winter months. 

You can like and follow @martelloalley on Instagram to find out more and spread the word about the free exhibit — before it melts and is gone for another year. 

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!