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Title: Ice Palaces
Artist: Janet Lofquist
Material: Glass smalti and stone mosaic
Eight panels of smalti (glass tiles) and stone mosaics based on archival photographs of some of the first ice palaces of the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Four large panels (7' x 11') on the exterior walls represent fragments of ice palaces. The four interior mosaic panels (7' x 1') are of gothic windows.
This artwork is based on the history of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palaces. Four ice palaces were constructed in the vicinity of this station. The first ice castle of 1886 and two subsequent castles in 1887 and 1888 were built in Central Park, several blocks to the north. The fourth ice castle, built in 1937, was constructed on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol. These mosaics focus on a fragment of this “architectural” history; the grand arch from the 1887 ice castle. As a strong visual element, with reference to a Romanesque triumphal arch, it also expresses the arches found in much of St. Paul’s historic architecture.
Janet Lofquist is a regional and national public artist from Minneapolis. For more than 25 years, she has created artwork for college campuses, libraries, parks and transit and streetscape projects.
Lofquist works in a variety of materials, from metals, to stone to wood and even landscaping. Completed works have ranged in scope from architecturally integrated treatments, sculptural environments, gathering spaces and free standing sculptures. In her work, Lofquist explores the relationship of site and context, art and architecture/landscape, and artist and community. Her process starts with a community conversation as she researches and explores the sites’ historical, cultural and environmental phenomena in order to create a unique sense of place.
She has won numerous grants and awards from Minnesota State Arts Board, Forecast Public Art, the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Engage, Goodwin Technical School, New Britain, Connecticut 2013
The inspiration for these mosaics are the ice palaces in the St. Paul Winter Carnival from 1886, 1887, 1888 and 1937. 1886 was the first year for the Winter Carnival and an ice castle. Inspired by a New York City reporter who said St. Paul was, "another Siberia, unfit for human habitation" in winter, the City created the winter celebration. As of 2017, there have been 36 different ice castles. The first, in 1886, was lit with lights and one of the first “buildings” in St. Paul to have electricity. Over the years, the castles have hosted the seating of King Boreas and the Royal Court, weddings and even housed an operating post office. Ice castles are a uniquely St. Paul tradition that have come to be a symbol of the Winter Carnival.
More on St. Paul’s Winter Carnival Ice castles.
1886 Ice Castle
1887 Ice Castle
1988 Ice Castle
1937 Ice Castle, as seen from the roof of the State Capitol
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