Jan 27-29: winter events this weekend, and winter memories from last weekend

This weekend, some events provide the best chances Milwaukee offers to be out celebrating winter. To be with a group of people who are enjoying themselves. People not merely surviving, not just moving through weather – but taking time to consciously choose to be outside in it. It is inspiring to see so many people – the joy of kids helps, too! – open to the season!

The Ambassador of Snow is looking forward to helping out at Winterfest at Wehr Nature Center on Sunday (event runs noon-330). With a variety of activities from snowshoeing to creative activities for children, it was a great way to get out into a group, and provide youngsters with a chance to enjoy the weather. And, of course, there’s a great sled hill just across the pond… http://county.milwaukee.gov/SpecialEventsatWehrN10347/Winterfest.htm

I also plan to attend Winterfest in Washington Park on Saturday, planned by the Urban Ecology Center and its branch there. Nowhere else in Milwaukee have I seen so many people out together enjoying winter! Many people packing the pond… a busy sledding hill… small groups skiing throughout the park… people gathered in the building to warm up, or near the building to talk and to see sled dogs. I was inspired to be out with so many other winter-lovers! Too often I am disappointed to hear people complain about winter, but this was a morale-boosting chance to be out with people focused on the positive, on appreciating what their city has to offer! (See for pics from last year: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Snow-bound-enjoying-Winter-and-Milwaukee/136469736408344#!/media/set/?set=a.150379078350743.36441.136469736408344&type=3)

For those who, like me, like to filter their experience of events through history, consider checking out “1947: the blizzard that stopped MKE cold” at the Central Library on Sunday. (http://blog.mpl.org/nowatmpl/2012/01/remember_the_blizzard_that_sto.html)

And as my events listing notes, there are plenty of other events to enjoy at other local nature centers. Enjoy winter activities now, during the peak of cold and snow season, before its too late!

 As for last weekend, I had fun checking out different events last weekend. The “Bright Winter” (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Snow-bound-enjoying-Winter-and-Milwaukee/136469736408344#!/events/206186599471408/) exhibit of Kimberly Weiss and Erin Paisley (http://erinpaisley.com/), which I will write more on later,  delivers, as I hoped, unusual perspectives on winter and how to positively engage it. Paisley, feeling isolated in winter, decided to learn from the examples of being who live in climates with long winters; and she created art inspired by their artistic styles. She found it to be a means of creating her brightness during winter, figuring out what she could proactively do to find more to inspire her during the season. Weiss produced works that veer far from the typical palate of white and dark that we might think of. She uses an artist’s ability to look at things differently to help us see the other shades of colors available, interested in the different types of light available, amongst other things.

I watched ice sculptors in the 3rd Ward, and snow sculptors in Racine. I was struck by how unusual an opportunity this is; not just to see a lot of art in public, but to see art *created* in public! Sculptors, familiar with working with a variety of materials, offered a chance to show off their skills with winter materials. I talked to sculptors David and Chris Andrews, who helped me see how the event is a mixture of endurance contest with art; watching sculptors spend hours… or days!… exposed to the elements, needing to use their hands to carefully manipulate wet materials, yet stay warm and dry enough – an interesting challenge! (And, as I wrote earlier, something most of us are a little familiar with, from our brief efforts to make snowballs and snowmen!)See http://www.historicthirdward.org/events/sculpturesonice.php on the 3rd Ward event, and http://www.racinedowntown.com/TheBigChill.html on the Racine event.

Hope you enjoy winter and creativity this weekend,

the Ambassador

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About MilwaukeeSnow

Dr. Jeffrey Filipiak, Milwaukee's Ambassador of Snow, loves winter, Milwaukee, and environmental history! He has taught college courses on topics including history, writing, environmental ethics, food studies, the Great Lakes, and sustainability. You can contact him at ambassadorofsnow@gmail.com.
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