Student's substantial snow sculpture shows State support

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

A heavy snowfall usually sends people inside, but for snow sculptor Kara Morgan, it only draws her out.

The Pennsylvania State University freshman used the snow shortly after Christmas to show her allegiance to her school and create an ice-cold life-size Nittany Lion sculpture on her family's front lawn in Marshall Township.

“When it snows here, I go out,” said Morgan, 18. “I usually do one a year.”

The sculpture of the popular Penn State mascot was approximately 8 feet long and “big enough to sit on,” she said.

It took her about two full afternoons the weekend after Christmas to finish the sculpture, which Morgan estimated to be about 10 hours. And the cold doesn't really bother her, as she gets pretty warm shoveling enough snow to make the yard art.

“I'm usually pretty sore the next day,” she said.

She did the actual sculpting of the Nittany Lion with her hands.

Morgan likes to do art in her spare time and explores different types of media. Growing up, she regularly participated in Marshall Township's annual snow-creations contest. She has less free time for art now, as she is too busy as an engineering major at Penn State's main campus in State College.

With an intent to ultimately study aerospace engineering, Morgan said, art and engineering can go hand in hand.

“People ask me why I'm not doing an art major … (but) you need a lot of creativity in engineering,” Morgan said.

Her mother, Susan Sakamoto, said Morgan has been doing sculpting since she was in the third grade. Sakamoto said her daughter's skills are not inherited, as neither she nor Morgan's father, Forrest Morgan, do artwork.

“She comes up with her own ideas. She's always been artistic,” Sakamoto said.

Just recently, they were on Sanibel Island in Florida, and Morgan drew a lot of attention with sand sculptures of a lion and alligator, her mother said.

And while sibling Aubrey Morgan, 22, is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, a well-known rival of Penn State, the younger Morgan said there are no hard feelings about the Nittany Lion perched on the front lawn.

Morgan said ideas just come to her, and she doesn't like to tell too much about what she is working on until it's close to being finished.

Neighbor Jeff Swedish said Morgan didn't give any clues as to what she was making when he first started noticing her working with the snow.

“I asked her if she was building an igloo, and she said, ‘We'll see,'” said Swedish, who just moved there six months ago from McCandless.

With the frigid temperature, Swedish was impressed with her dedication while working outdoors.

“It's life size. It's amazing,” said Swedish, 51.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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