Competition Requirements

General Info for Sculpting Teams

Each team shall consist of up to three members, 18 years and older. A team must have three state resident members maximum to be eligible for the State competition, two state resident members are acceptable. In the event a two-member team wins for the qualifying the team to participate in the National competition, a third member must be added. If a third in-state member is not achievable, an out-of-state member will be accepted with approval of state and/or national event organizers.

Teams consisting of out-of-state sculptors may apply but will not be considered for the State title or for participation in National event.

Both amateurs and professionals are eligible; sculptors can only participate on one team. There is no entry fee. Proof of residency in the form of a photocopy of a driver’s license or state ID will be collected prior to the event if competing for State title.

Snow Sculpting Rules

Teams can begin carving on Thursday, February 9, and will have until noon on Sunday, February 12 to complete their sculpture. No media other than snow, ice and water may be used; colorants may not be added. No armatures are allowed. Sculptors must provide their own tools including buckets, ladders and scaffolding. No power tools are permitted. Sculptures have to be fully finished on all sides by noon on Sunday, February 12.
Snow Sculpting Contest Rules

Snow Blocks

Each team is assigned (by lottery) a cube of manufactured and packed snow, 6 feet wide and deep by 8 feet tall in the Washington Park sculpting site. Finished pieces may not expand beyond 10 feet in width or depth. Height is unlimited. The condition of the snow cannot be guaranteed. In case of significant inclement weather, the competition may be canceled.

Subject Matter

Artists have the liberty of creating representations of realistic or imaginary subject matter. Because the sculptures will be located in public space the content must be appropriate for all ages. Sculptures must be an original design and NOT previously executed by the Team prior to the competition. No trademarks or logos allowed.

For 2023, teams are encouraged to design snow sculptures inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of Animals. Educational programming and live performances scheduled for Sunday's Winter Arts community activities are in collaboration with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra's Spring Family Concert that will feature Saint-Saëns’ whimsical musical masterpiece. Learn more about the Carnival of Animals.

Judging Criteria

Sculptures will be scored and winners of the State of Iowa Champion title will be determined based on the following criteria:
  • CREATIVITY: Originality in composition and design (10 pts)
  • TECHNIQUE & CRAFTSMANSHIP: Excellence in execution of proposed design; Effective and interesting use of materials (10 pts)
  • OVERALL IMPRESSION: Quality of artistic composition; Audience impact / contemporary relevance (10 pts)

Awards Available

  • State of Iowa Champion*: First place will represent Iowa in US National Snow Sculpting Contest 2024 (*Eligible to teams consisting of 2 or more Iowa residents only)
  • People’s Choice Award: Determined by public vote gathered from 12 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Award will be presented at the awards ceremony at the Dubuque Museum of Art that afternoon.
Additional Information

Download the competition application form or apply online through Slideroom. There is no fee to apply.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2023. Applications can be submitted via email to, mailed or hand delivered to the Dubuque Museum of Art, Attn: Danielle Stowell, 701 Locust St. Dubuque, IA 52001, or via the online Slideroom portal.