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Snow provides medium for area amateur artists
Instead of merely pushing snow into an unsightly pile, area's more creative minds turn it into works of art

 A snow terra-cotta warrior guards a Fox Point yard.
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Date published: 2/10/2010

By CATHY DYSON

A bunch of 20-something men weren't about to let the snow defeat them.

Justin Owens, Eric Hetzer and a few of their friends united their skills and college majors--in art, history and geography--in a battle to overcome the evil force that threatened to keep them stuck inside.

The result?

"Fort Mort," an igloo/man cave about 10 feet wide where the young men sat on plastic buckets in arctic temperatures and did what some guys like to do best.

Drink beer.

"We've been out there several times," Owens said yesterday.

The men also let neighborhood kids look around their impressive digs--after they disposed of beer bottles and cases. The guys named the structure Fort Mort because it's on Mortimer Street in Fredericksburg.

"We wanted to do something epic in the snow," said Owens, crowing that "we've got the intelligence, the skills and the smarts to do it."

They filled city recycling bins with snow--each weighing about 50 pounds--and stacked them up, four levels deep. They used parts of an old fence for the roof, covered it with snow and planted a makeshift flag made out of an old pair of blue boxer shorts.

Across the Fredericksburg region, a few creative residents did more with the snow than push it into dirty piles as tall as retaining walls.

They turned the meltable medium into works of art.

Here are a few noteworthy examples discovered yesterday. Unfortunately, not all the artists could be identified.

AN INTERNATIONAL FLAIR

There's a snowman that looked like a terra-cotta warrior, standing guard on Avery Street in Fox Point, a subdivision in Spotsylvania County. Dana and Wes Marshall and their 12-year-old son, Spencer, had seen the National Geographic exhibit in Washington last month and decided that if the Chinese could make 6,000 soldiers them from clay, they could craft one from snow.

The details of their work were impressive, from the bun atop its head to the rivets in its uniform. The Marshalls used a 2-foot statue they'd had in their house as a model.

Equally lifelike was a snowy statue in the 100 block of Caroline Street in Fredericksburg. The face looked as handsome as a Greek god--and the pectoral muscles weren't too shabby, either.


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