The 2017 On-Ice Program will once again be located in White Bear Lake, MN, where the frozen surface acts as host and backdrop to a wide range of actions, interventions, happenings, stories, songs, games and more. Our call for performing artists is open July 29 - August 31, 2016. A performing artist call will open in mid-July. Submissions will be reviewed and selected by juries representing the organization. A complete list of selected artists will be published on our website in early December.


The origins of Art Shanty Projects comes from the inspiration provided by unique ice fishing houses and diverse communities that come together on Minnesota's frozen lakes each winter. Founders saw the potential to create an artists' happening in an extreme environment; to embrace and reinvent a beloved cultural practice; and to encourage personal expression and community engagement through temporary structures and performances. The vision culminated in artists gathering to produce diverse, multi-disciplinary shanties and integrated programming on Medicine Lake. Flattering media profiles and a fiscal sponsorship has aided in organizational evolution to its current beloved standing.

From its humble beginnings, Art Shanty Projects flagship program has been the annual home to ~20 structures and interactive exhibits for over ~100 artists. Attendance has risen from approximately 5,000 in 2007 to a record-breaking 19,000 in 2012. After a brief hiatus, the program moved from Hennepin to Ramsey County by invitation from the City of White Bear Lake with hopes of reaching new audiences and artist collaborators.


On-Ice Program

Every season in the upper Midwest presents its challenges. Sub-freezing temperatures, snow and frozen lakes, the notorious northern winters have earned its icy reputation. Lakes in Minnesota are a prime focal point for outdoor activity and the fading of fair weather only changes the types of action; from wind-surfing to snowmobiling, from swimming to cross-country skiing.

One of the premier on-ice activities is ice fishing; winter anglers drill holes through the thick ice and surround themselves with a shelter to protect against the elements. These shelters range from minimalist lightweight canvas walls to more elaborate set-ups approximating all the comforts of home. The best locations quickly crowd with a community sharing in the challenges and rewards of temporarily settling a frozen lake. In the absence of codes and building restrictions, there is a frontier-like freedom encouraging personal expression and community engagement through temporary architecture.

Heavily influenced by this favorite winter pastime, Art Shanty Projects' On-Ice Program brings hundreds of artists and thousands of curious visitors out to fend off brisk wind chills and deep snowfall in the name of art and community. Artists create a variety of imaginable shanties, engaging the community in anything from knitting to science to karaoke. The broad and diverse audience includes lake residents, ice fisher people, suburbanites, city dwellers, fellow artists and passing snowmobilers.

Art Shanty Projects embraces the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and our Access Plan reflects our commitment to assuring that all members of our community can participate as fully as possible in our arts events, programs, meetings, facilities and communications. 

We invite you to explore the many ways in which you can be a part of our On-Ice Program.

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