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Arts & Exhibits

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Ice is nice art

Chicago’s ice can be nice art. (I am referring to that hard water that is currently on sidewalks, lawns, streets, in parks and on fences.) This ice can be nice art if Chicagoans only need to look at it, but do not need to walk upon it, shovel it or scrape it.

The Polar Vortex of early January 2014 created excessively long icicles.
The Polar Vortex of early January 2014 created excessively long icicles.© 2014 Vernon Brookins
In late January 2014, these ice crystal formed on a window.
In late January 2014, these ice crystal formed on a window.© 2014 Vernon Brookins

Ice from frozen snow or rain is usually colorless, clear and transparent. Piles of this stuff that are alongside Chicago’s streets pick up dirt from vehicles’ tires and become gray and/or black. This is not the same as “black ice.

Nature’s, ice, art exhibits display many forms: sheets, lumps, chunks, chips, shards and icicles. In Chicago, some of these forms are along Lake Michigan’s shore. Trees may have ice droplets on their branches. Water dripping from roofs sometimes form miniature, ice balls. You cannot bounce these balls because they will shatter upon contact with the ground.

Man-made, ice, art exhibits can look like waffles, spirals, grooves, etc. Skiing through snow creates grooves, and when these grooves freeze into ice, they become . . . “groovy.” Automobiles that spin on black ice can create icy spirals.

Some artists create ice sculptures. (In past years, I have seen at least one of these in front of Chicago’s Conrad Hilton hotel.) Ice sculptures are usually in-the-round. These sculptors will need to work quickly outdoors before they freeze or the ice melts.

Chicago’s, ice artists do not have monopolies on ice sculptures. There are probably ice sculptors in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska, Russian, South Korea and Japan. It is sometimes nice in Nice (France), but they probably never display nice, ice art.