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Open invitation to creatives – Art Shanty Projects – due 10/7/2011

Open invitation for the Eighth Art Shanty Projects!

Seeking visual artists, musicians, composers, media artists, architects, poets, scientists, dancer/choreographers, writers, builders, fisher-people, outdoors-people, naturalists, puppeteers, set designers, vocalists, spoken word artists, craftspeople, storytellers, actors, playwrights, etc. interested in participating in the design and construction of ice fishing shanty-like structures, producing participatory projects, art, events and shows on frozen Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN during January and February 2012.

For 2012 we are offering:

  • 20 Art Shanty Residencies with $1200 stipends, on-ice support, publicity and building support.
  • 20 Art Shanty Performance Residencies of $100 each (detailed in a later call)

 Deadline for applications October 7th, 2011

 Informational Meetings:
September 15th, 6:30pm at Grumpy’s Downtown
1111 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415

September 25th, 2pm at Forecast Public Art
2300 Myrtle Ave #160
St Paul, MN 55114

The weather in Minnesota is challenging; Cold being the harshest. The desire to get out of the house requires significant amounts of energy and creativity. Lakes are an often-used medium for recreational activity in Minnesota. Winter does not stop this use, but transforms it. One of these uses, ice fishing, is a popular winter activity in Minnesota and indeed throughout the world. People often fish from a structure commonly known as an ice fishing house, shelter, shack or shanty. The absence of building codes and restrictions cultivate diversity and uniqueness. From portable, commercially-made shelters to homemade plywood boxes to deluxe fish houses approximating the comforts of home. The architectural common denominator is a trapdoor in the floor allowing access to a hole drilled through the ice. Makeshift communities position themselves over the best fishing spots. Deep in winter, the lake ice can get to be 2-3 feet thick. More than enough to support trucks and cars. The ice fishing season begins when the ice is thick enough to support the weight (around the middle of December) to the last day of February (officially the end of the season.)

2010 was the seventh and to date biggest Art Shanty Projects. Some 135 artists built Shanties, performed, created sculptures, and interacted with the public. Approximately 10,000 visitors showed up to fend off the briskest of wind chills. The Art Post Shanty, the world’s only Post Office on the ice, invited participants to make a postcard and send it right from or to the ice. The Art Swap Shanty facilitated many swaps with the guideline, “If you call it art, we call it art.” Dance Shanty kept the lake warm with every kind of dance move you could imagine. The show received extensive media coverage, bringing a large and diverse audience including lake residents, ice fishers, suburbanites, city dwellers, artists, and snowmobilers.

Residencies will each be $1200 for the 2012 Art Shanty Projects. These funds are intended for artists to build a shanty and spend a significant portion of time on the ice. Specific proposal requirements and eligibility detailed below.

We do our best to support ASP artists fiscally, logistically, and with as many other resources as we are able. All Proposals should be submitted electronically and will be juried by a panel made up of an Art Shanty representative, local artists, curators, and past ASP participants.

We also plan to program weekend performances. Please keep the aspect of performance in mind when planning and proposing your shanty. A separate call will go out detailing this process. There will be stipends available and the entries will go through a jury process.


  • Informational meetings for applicants:
    September 15, 6:30 pm
    Grumpy’s Downtown
    1111 S Washington Ave
    Minneapolis, MN 55415September 15, 2:00 pm
    Forecast Public Art
    2300 Myrtle Ave #160
    St Paul, MN 55114
  • October 7: Deadline for receipt of proposals
  • October 21: Notification of accepted proposals
  • October 29: Meeting for participants
  • October-December: Construction of Art Shanties
  • January 9-13 Installation of shanties on the ice
  • January 14: Opening of Art Shanty Projects on Medicine Lake
  • February 5: Closing of Art Shanty Projects
  • February 19: All the shanties must be off the ice

Proposal Requirements:
All applications will be submitted online through the Art Shanty website and should include:

  • Application Form (see link below)
  • Project Proposal (1 page)
  • Project Proposal Images (up to 5)

Project Proposal
Please make certain to include details in your proposal speaking to the following requirements. (no more than one page)

  1. Written description of idea. What is your shanty and especially what interaction/activity will take place in tandem with it.
  2. How does the proposal fit the artistic goals of Art Shanty Projects. (see
  3. Address your group’s capacity. You are required to be on the ice each weekend of ASP from 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday. MLK Day of the first weekend is included in these open hours.

Design Requirements:
Take these requirements into consideration when designing/developing your idea. You do not have to directly address these, but successful proposals will embody these requirements.

  1. Leave No Trace. We leave only tracks on the lake. The lake is a quiet place, consequently generators are not allowed at any time. If you require power there are many options using deep cycle batteries, and even renewable methods to charge those batteries.
  2. The Hennepin County Water Patrol requires everything to have walls (be a structure). If you have questions about this, contact us.
  3. Your Shanty must be easily moveable to avoid freezing to the ice. One common option is ‘skis’. Igloos or other structures that rest directly on the ice are not allowed.
  4. The main obstacle to working on the lake is the harsh environment, the lake is very windy, which places incredible strain and wear on structures. They must be built soundly out of durable materials. Although there are virtually no building codes on the lake, any small bits that come off your Shanty, will be covered by snow and consequently frozen in, rendering it litter. The design of your structure should take the harsh environment into consideration.
  5. Reflectors. One of the few codes involving structures on the ice is the placement of reflective material on all sides. This applies to any thing on the ice. Think of speeding cars and snowmobiles at night. Reflective tape works well on irregular structures. (See DNR Fishing Shelter regulations, starting page 61:

Project Proposal Images:
Relevant visual supporting material (drawings of proposed shanty) and any other materials that will help the jury understand your proposal. (Up to five images.)

Selection Criteria:
All proposals will be reviewed by a panel of professional artists, curators, and representatives from the Art Shanty Projects advisory board based on the following criteria.

  • Feasibility of proposed project. Evidence your group’s capacity to successfully build and staff your project.
  • Quality of project idea as compared to Art Shanty Projects artistic goals and values (see
  • Quality of plan for audience interaction.
  • Design showing understanding of Design Requirements.

Eligibility Requirements:
The Art Shanty Project strives to create open artistic interactions between non-artists and artists. For our Art Shanty residencies we have no application restrictions and encourage creative people of all types to apply. Our goal is to expand who can be an artist.


  1. Consider working in teams, there are many physical and logistical challenges which are much easier when working with others.
  2. Think realistically about staffing open hours for your shanty. The project lasts 4 weeks and 4 weekends, plus MLK Day, and you are required to be open for each of those weekend days from 10-5.
  3. The lake sees intense winds. Design your structure/programming to minimize the chance of materials falling off and being frozen in the ice.
  4. Collaboration is the name of the game with the Art Shanty Projects. That said, be realistic with your collaborators about who is dong what.

Questions: e-mail Peter at

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