First Night & Large Works

Donald Chapelle has over 27 years of experience with large scale outdoor events. He annually creates 10-40 ton sculptures for winter festivals such as First Night Boston, a New Year’s celebration of community where the Boston downtown hub is open to foot traffic and multiple events occur during the course of the day and evening attaching millions each year.

2015 will celebrate Donald’s 27th year participating in Boston’s First Night New Year’s celebration here are just a few of his large First Night Instillations. Other winter festival ideas can be seen throughout the photo gallery.

“[N]' Ice Puppy “

2014 First Night, Prudential Plaza, Boston
"Beauty goes deeper than her wrinkles, plunked-out Buffy and young Mick prepare for a walk down town”.

This lustic animated piece features Buffy the bulldog in front of her dog house, showing off her sharp teeth, sporting her spiked collar and pink earring. Her owner Mick the boy figure in front of her is skipping while eating strawberry ice cream. This is a fun light hearted piece for animal lovers.

Size: 140 blocks

22 tons

10 feet tall and 60 feet wide

Climate: : 2 days of very heavy rain and temps in the high 40’s, then 2 days of temps in the 20’s.

Boston Marathon Logo

(First Ever sanctioned ice sculpture from the BAA)
Copley Square

Fur Seals at the Boston Aquarium

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

First Night 2013

A sequel to fan favorite "Here Fishy Fishy". Years previous Margie and Jim would often spend their summers diving in the coral reefs of Southern Florida, now almost fully gown and on spring break they are diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, unbeknownst to them of the dangers that lurk below.

Size: 120 blocks

17 tons of ice

15 feet tall 46 feet wide

Climate: : 3 days in the upper 20’s to low 30’s last two days high 30’s during the day and low 30’s at night. A very good year for sculpting.

“Looking Glass and The Four Seasons”

First Night 2012

“The looking Glass”. Reflections of the four seasons, an exhibit and interactive tour of texture, light - an embrace of nature’s gifts.

Size: 117 blocks

Climate: 2 days of weather in the upper 20’s to mid thirties, final two days in the upper 40’s. Not the best temperature for this piece with all the inlays warming the outer layers of ice causing bubbling effect and honeycombing.


First Night 2011



Size: 130 blocks, 18 tons, 17 feet tall, 32 feet wide.

Climate: 3 Days very cold weather with the last two days sunny and in the 50’s. Due to the mass and thickness of Orca the pieces came out rather well despite the warm weather.

"Michelangelo Sculpting David"

First Night 2010

Michelangelo Sculpting David

Michelangelo Sculpting David:
Return to Michelangelo’s studio in Florence in 1504, where he completed his most famous work, the Statue of David.

Size: 90 Blocks, 12 tons, 17 feet tall, 20 feet wide.

Climate: : Completed all large instillations in 4 days of perfectly cold weather. Poor PM pictures are a result of the lighting company “honeycombing the sculpture of David at dusk making the sculpture opaque

"Aquarium, Rock hopper penguins"

First Night 2010


"Suffolk University, and the Modern Theatre Facade"

First Night 2010

Suffolk University

"Suffolk University"

First Night 2009

Suffolk University

New England Aquarium

First Night 2009

New England Aquarium


First Night Boston 2008


Visit Pipeline, Oahu’s most famous surfing beach on the North Shore. View the heavy surf from the safety of the beach while the ballet of board and human gracefully coexist with windward waves in eternal motion.

Size: 170 Blocks, 23 tons, 13 feet high, 32 feet wide.

Climate: first two days highs of 55-65 and sun and rain, blizzard on last day. 


First Night 2008, Boston, Boston Common on Brewers Fountain


"Mangrove" includes rich green native flora, a wading flock of pink flamingos, and towering palms. Friendly alligators and an indigenous panther sip from emerald water while interested snowy white egrets survey the extraordinary magnificence.

Size: 110 blocks of Ice, 15 tons, 15 feet high, 32 feet wide

Climate: 1 hour of freezing temperatures in 5 days of carving, rain 3 days in the high 40’s and low 50’s temps in the PM 34-44F.


First Night 2007, Boston, Boston Common


"Oystermen", a celebration of our coastal shell fishing heritage on scenic Cape Cod. New England fishermen haul the daily catch; rough seas hamper the harvest; a hurried boat captain holds to the oars. Nauset lighthouse beacons in the distance while gulls scream overhead for quick meal - perhaps a few seals appear interested in the incredibly delicious bivalves - the setting sun reveals an amber and violet skyline, reminding the fisherman its time to return home.

Size: 175 blocks of ice, 24 tons of ice, 22 feet tall, 27 feet deep, 42 feet wide

Climate: Relative cold in PM 3 days, 2 days in the 40's

"Here Fishy Fishy"

First Night 2006, Boston, Boston Common

Here Fishy Fishy

A lush view of tropical fish and magnificent coral reef life. Sculpture includes towering seaweed, colorful tropical fish, Neptune riding dolphins and undersea coral flora.

Size: 160 Blocks of ice, 22 tons, 18' tall, 40' wide, 42' long

Climate: One day cold weather, 1 day heavy rains in the mid 50's, last three days highs in the 40's.

"Buffalo Children"

First Night 2005, Boston, Boston Common

Buffalo Children

"Americas Native People follow the roaming buffalo" a dazzling view of native life on the western plains. Sculpture includes a life-size tee-pee, grazing buffalo, Native American People and eager wolves howling at the moon.

Size: 165 Blocks of ice, 22 tons, 18' tall, 60' long, 40' wide

Climate: Last two days warm and sunny mid 40's, first three days high 20's at night

"Out of Africa"

First Night 2004, Boston, Boston Common

Out of Africa

A simmering panoramic view of life on the Serengeti. Encounter a blistering sunset, giant mafuti trees and the inhabitants of an emerald colored pool with lazy lions, elegant giraffes and graceful gazelles.

Size: 185 blocks, 25 tons, Giraffes 21 feet tall, 58 feet wide

Climate: 3 days very warm weather in the mid to upper 50's 2 days cold weather


First Night 2003, Boston, Boston Common


Escape to an animated wintry countryside of St. Petersburg on a stalwart horse drawn sleigh to an arctic land of snow and ice.

Size: 185 Blocks, 25 tons 28 feet high, 46 feet wide

Climate: 2 day drizzle including First Night, 4 days cold weather

"Salmon Run"

First Night 2002, Boston, Boston Common

Salmon Run

A scene inspired by the final "Circle of Life" of the migrating King Salmon. Bathing and fishing in the cold Alaskan glacial waters is a family of brown bears enjoying a feast of spawning salmon.

Size: 150 Blocks, 20 tons; 18 feet high, 52 feet wide

Climate: Generally cold days in the low 30's

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