The Ely Winter Festival very much appreciates the support of the community, the visitors to Ely, and most especially the amazing artists who fill our park with gigantic pieces of art.
You may have heard that on the first night of the International Snow Sculpting Symposium, most of our sculptures were vandalized with spray paint, which was easily shaved off. A few sculptures had pieces knocked off. Most disappointing was destruction of a sculpture that students from the high school and college had been working on with the mentoring of the some of our local professional carvers and the college art instructor. The vandal also vandalized many of the Amateur Blocks, and our brand new warming tent. The Ely Police Department is investigating.
The artists, professional and amateur, parents, and children all rallied. They fixed their sculptures, they talked to their children about mean people. The professionals are used to having to make adjustments due to snow and weather conditions. And while we were all shocked and disappointed, we were just as determined to come together as a community.
We are working on repairing the tent, and new signs have already been ordered.
Special thanks go to Dean and Peta Barrett who rallied to cover and repair the damage to the tent. To A2B Taxi, who stayed with the tent all night on Friday night. To the staff from Northern Tier Scout Base who stayed in the park all night Saturday night. To the BoatHouse Brewpub, who have offered a reward to anyone who helps solve this crime. To the Facebook community who rallied around us when we needed you. To everyone who came to the Kickoff on Friday night.
There is still an entire week of Ely Winter Festival events for everyone to enjoy. Please get out and enjoy the Ely ArtWalk, an Ely Folk School class, a concert, or fundraiser dinner. Go to our website and click on events.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; as well as the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, and the Ely Chamber of Commerce.