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Check Out These BK Artists at Governor's Island Ice Sculpture Contest

The third annual Ice Sculpture show on Saturday will have live ice carving.
A woman carves a design out of ice at the 2023 Governors' Island ice Sculpture Show.

Creating art with a chainsaw is not for everyone, but there are four Brooklyn artists that are looking forward to chiselling a big block of ice this weekend into a work of art. 

Governors Island will host its third annual Ice Sculpture show on Saturday, where Parastoo Ahovan, an artist based in Greenpoint, plans to sculpt a tree design, representing the interconnectedness of life and love.

Ashovan said she has participated in several symposiums where she carved bronze, stone, and wood. But this is the first time she's working with ice.

Though the show is technically a contest, Ahovan is not too interested in the competitive aspect.

“For me, it's not about the contest,” said Ahovan. “It’s a group of artists working together who each have their own ideas. I can learn a lot from them and enjoy our time working together.”

Ahovan and the other finalists were each awarded with $2,000 and paired with a professional ice carver from Okamoto Studio, a Queens-based company that specializes in ice designs.

Lloyd Foster, who largely works with photography and paintings, was interested in participating in the competition because its unlike his usual work.

“An ice sculpture presents a new opportunity and medium, it should be fun,” said Foster, who plans to sculpt an angel, a common theme in his work, with hearts replacing the wings.

Ten artists will sculpt their design live from 12 to 2 p.m. Visitors can watch the sculpting and be able to vote for their favorite sculpture to win the “People’s Choice Award” at an award ceremony later in the day. The ice sculpture show coincides with the Times Square Arts’ annual ‘Love in Times Square’ celebration on Valentine’s Day, which celebrates the holiday with weddings, proposals, and vow renewals in Times Square. A recreation of the winning sculpture will be displayed then.

“For the third winter season in a row we have been able to offer New Yorkers and visitors a unique opportunity to witness live ice carving and to experience interactive public art right here on the Island,” said Clare Newman, President of the Trust for Governors Island in a press release.

The judges for the competition includes Jenna Lyons of The Real Housewives of New York City, Brooklyn City Council member Chi Osse, writer Miya Lee and Hollis Kam, senior vice president of people and culture at Times Square Alliance.

Sally Twin, another finalist based in Brooklyn, applied for the contest twice before getting in this year. Twin's plan is to create a piece called "The Game of Love," which will feature a shuffleboard game with heart-shaped game pieces. 

"Making something that's not too cool for people to come to play with and have fun with is important to me," said Twin. "I try to make art that's not intimidating, but instead something that people can have a good emotional time with."

Though Twin is excited, the idea of carving something live is nervewracking. "There's gonna be so much suspense," said Twin. "If one of these slabs breaks, that's it." 

For another finalist, the contest's theme of love has a personal meaning. "It's a fascinating coincidence because my husband proposed to me on this island, and now I can showcase my work there dedicated to the theme of love," said Katerina Sokolovskaya, a native of Belarus. 

"I love that in New York, you can encounter art anywhere, and the entire city is a grand artwork. It's exciting to think that, thanks to the show, I'll be part of this narrative," she said.

Christopher Edwards

About the Author: Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards is a native Brooklynite and current student at Baruch College, majoring in Journalism and Creative Writing.
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