Art Shanty Projects Take Over Frozen Lake Harriet

Sci Fi Book Club shanty

This January, art will join the ice covering Lake Harriet. Art Shanty Projects presents its 2018 shanty village on the lake with artist-designed shanties and performance art.

The shanty village will sit about a thousand feet from shore in a conversation between art and environment. Attendees of the free event will walk out onto the lake from a ramp near the bandshell. “There will be performances through the day, structures [to explore] and people walking around interacting,” artistic director Lacey Prpic Hedtke says.

The event, which takes place on weekends from January 20 through February 11, is coming to Minneapolis after three years on White Bear Lake. It seemed like an obvious move after years in the suburbs.

“We’re hoping to serve a more broad and diverse audience,” Prpic Hedtke says. “Most of our artists and audience come from Minneapolis.”

This year, the jury of local artists received double the applications and chose 21 artist shanties, each with a unique perspective. The shanties and performers will form a colorful village on the ice.

“They’re inspired by fishing shacks,” Prpic Hedtke says of the shanties. In the past, artists have created dome shanties, like crashed spaceships and trailers you could walk into. “Basically any structure you can go in on ice or assemble on ice,” Prpic Hedtke says.

“It’s about engaging with the shanty and artist,” says Prpic Hedtke. “In one you play bingo. In another you play your own game. Others you reach your hand in. It’s about experiencing art and engaging artist and the art.”

Artist Giuliana Pinto moved to Minneapolis after participating in the project last winter. Last year, her interactive piece added green to the white landscape. “It was a more involved emotional experience,” says Pinto. “The piece started as a bare tree and people were contributing their fears to it. By the end it was a completely green tree in contrast to ice and snow.”

She’s planning on presenting an interactive piece again this year. The shanty town has become a highlight of her year, especially considering Pinto relocated to the area after spending time here in the winter. “I figured if I loved Minnesota enough in the winter time I should move,” says Pinto. “It’s a pretty magical place to be, out with all the sounds and sights on the lake.”

Organizers are hoping for a large turnout with the move to Minneapolis, especially with the Super Bowl in town. Metro transit is providing free transportation to the event during the first weekend, which isn’t located far from bus lines.

One question remains: Will the ice on Lake Harriet be thick enough? Organizers planned the event for the coldest weather and have had luck in years past. They’re expecting locals to step out onto the ice—especially ice on a lake they may have been walking or biking around for years.

“We really want to get people outside in winter,” says Prpic Hedtke. “A lot of people haven’t walked out onto a frozen lake. Hopefully it’s a good entry point for engaging in different types of art.”