21 Feb Art Shanty Projects: Artist Exhibits on a Frozen Lake
Minnesota has a vibrant art scene with world class museums, theater and live music in every direction and artist galleries and studios in almost every corner. In addition to this, residents have learned to embrace the winter and find creative ways to enjoy the season. After combining these two principles, the Art Shanty Projects were born. This event is a yearly gathering where a community of over 100 artists set up temporary displays and performances on the ice of a frozen lake.
The free event is held every year in February and the shanty projects are open on Saturdays and Sundays. Located on Medicine Lake in White Bear Lake, the project focuses on expanding one’s notion of art and make an interactive environment between the artists, art, performances, and visitors. The founders of the event saw a chance for artists to create in an extreme environment while reinventing the cultural pastime of ice fishing.
Themes for the shanties cover a wide range of subjects and activities—you can find anything from science and nature themes to dancing and music. We were impressed with the creativity of the artists and had a blast exploring the various exhibits.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite enough time to check out every single shanty, but we certainly made a good dent in our exploration. I wish we could have seen all of the installations, but it gives us even more reason to head back again for more art fun. Here’s a bit more information on the shanty projects that we were able to visit.
Artists: Gabriel Bodkin, Alex Schluender
This domed structure was set up to resemble a planetarium inside—on the ceiling, visitors can see silhouetted “constellations” and listen to storytelling and music. The creators of this shanty wants visitors to reflect on their understanding of myths and the human story.
Artists: Alexandra Eninsche, Caitlin Dippo, Nick Kramer
Inside the Conversation Booth, visitors sit in a booth and talk to other festival attendees on the opposite side of the wall through a phone. It encourages interactions can conversations with others that might not have happened otherwise. Micah had a fun chat with one of the creators of the booth, and we loved the unique interactive spin on this display!
Artists: Sam Clausen, Lauren Fleming, Sean Higgins, Perri Kinsman, Tyler MacNeal, Joe Mollen
The Ghost Shanty had a collection of artifacts from Minnesota that were selected to represent the diverse character of the state. Visitors can interact with the artifacts that are hanging from the ceiling and are encouraged to create their own art and interpretations on the walls of the shanty to show what Minnesota means to them.
Artists: Richelle Soper, Cole Zrostlik
This fun exhibit was set up like a human carwash that visitors can walk through. The “interactive spa experience” is a funny way to interact with various objects as you make your way through the shanty.
Shanty National Park
Artists: Eli Edleson-Stein, Sarah Rusch
One of my personal favorite shanties was the Shanty National Park. Inside this shack, you will find greenery, critters, a flowing river and beautiful nature scenes. I love the elements of movement in the display and it felt like we had a quick escape to summertime in a National Park in the midst of winter.
Artist: Robin Garwood
Snow Blind is another very interactive shanty—from the outside it doesn’t look like much, but once you are inside, you will find floor to ceiling windows covered with overlapping grids. Visitors are encouraged to touch the window coverings and watch how it changes the appearance of the scenery outside.
String Box Shanty
Artists: Christopher Brenny, Dave Dammar, Mark Dunsworth, Adam Jarvi, Monica Russell, Sean Wagner
The String Box Shanty uses string to interact with the always changing environment that surrounds it. The frames of the shanty are threaded with colorful string by visitors to show the effect of human touch. The intertwining strings create a maze of interaction and in turn they create a beautiful display of art.
The Justice Shack
Artists: Jennifer Byers, Colleen Cook, Hortense MacLeod, Angela Maki-North
The Justice Shack was run entirely on solar power and it provided a warm space for visitors to reflect and voice their opinions on the issues of justice going on in the world. They encourage visitors to share their opinion by posting it on the wall and they welcome poetry, meditation and engagement with the community.
The Sky is Falling
Artists: Raymond Finzel, JP Merz, Jane Rennick
Inside this shanty you will find a biofeedback experience complete with light and sound. Place your hand on the handprint and the light will change as will the sound you hear in the room. The purpose of this display is interacting with the artists to explore the relationship between what’s inside you and the environment around you.
Artist: Kerrik Wessel
The colorful panels in this creation are red and translucent, but they also serve another purpose which is to generate electricity by collecting the sun’s energy. They are pieced together to create a beautiful display, but I love that they serve a functional purpose, as well!
ArtCar + ArtBikes of Minnesota
Artists: Carol Ahlgren, Allen Christian, Jan Elftmann, Sandee Elftmann, Ruthann Godollei, Max Haynes, Mina Leierwood, Mark Mueske, Patti Paulson, Janet Skidmore, Craig Upright, Toni Warner
We didn’t see the ArtCar, but we did get a chance to see the ArtBike. The bike resembled a seal and had seats in the front to give visitors rides to and from the shoreline! The ArtCars also offered transportation to and from the shore if you don’t want to make the walk out there.
Inward Music: Defrosted
Artist: Sarah Stengle
This display is a moveable installation of furniture and harps mounted on skis. Performers play the harps and visitors are invited to join in and play music themselves—it was another fun and interactive exhibit.
Have you ever been to the Art Shanty Projects or something similar?