Local artist and auto-body worker creates one-of-a-kind sculptures out of snow

Art Today, Gone Tomorrow

A Grinch on a motorcycle. A Nome. A Dalmatian next to a fire hydrant. A Tiki. A Smurf driving a car. A candle. 

This may sound like a random list of things that don’t belong together, but if you happened to drive near the fire station in Springville in mid-December, you would know that each one of these things had a place in Jerry Gardner’s front yard of holiday snow sculptures. 

For the past 30 years, Gardner, who is a local artist and auto body worker, has done his part to bring a smile to the faces of residents and passer-bys during the winter months. And he’s done it through creating one of a kind snow sculptures.

“I’ve been doing it here in Springville for about 30 years, and I do it for the enjoyment of the people who drive by,” Gardner said. “It’s my way of cheering people up and enjoying the snow and the cold season. Things get a little dreary around here.”

With the recent snow accumulation across the state, it made for the ideal conditions to create such a conglomerate of sculptures. Gardner said that snow like this is often hard to come by. He also said that even when it snows, it has to be the perfect snow packing temperature for things to come together.

“It depends on the weather,” he said. “You can’t pack the snow together unless it’s like 34-37 degrees. The last one that I just did, I had to mix water with the snow and mix it up like concrete, and then do one handful at a time until it was built. It can be very laborious, but it’s worth it.”

Gardner doesn’t just rely on the white stuff to make his creations stand out. Since he is a painter by trade, he uses cans of spray paint to the sculptures to make them colorful. He said that he likes the challenge of trying to come up with new ideas, and that he loves each one of the sculptures for their uniqueness.

“I’m always up for something different,” Gardner said. “I try not to repeat sculptures so there’s a good variety, but it’s getting kind of hard to find something that’s different. I do like making motorcycles – Harleys and stuff with different characters on them. It just makes it kinda fun and there’s a lot of other people that are in this area and at the canyon that enjoy Harleys and motorcycles, so they always look forward to that.”

Not only does Gardner like to watch travelers ride bikes up the canyon, and create snow sculptures in their likeness, but he is a third generation Harley rider. To make matters better, he has a degree in art from BYU, as well as a degree in collision repair from UVU. Gardner also owned his own auto body shop working on show cars, and has done a lot of work with Legends as a painter.

Needless to say, when Gardner is creating motorcycles and cars out of snow, he knows what he’s doing. Even with all of his expertise, he is quick to say that creating snow sculptures is much more about giving back to the community he has called home.

“It’s just fun for the people and it puts a smile on their face,” he said. “That’s the whole reason for doing it.”

Publisher’s Note: If you would like to donate funds for the cost of paint you may Venmo @ChrisABaird and put “Paint Money” and I will get it to Jerry.

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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