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Hell Yeah! The Art Shanties are Back on Bde Unma/Lake Harriet This Winter

The outdoor event is going to be super outdoors in 2022.

Art Shanties Projects/Free Truth Media

After taking a coronavirus year off, the Art Shanty Projects announced that it will return this coming January and February. But things are going to have to be a little different.

For nearly 20 years, the Art Shanty Projects have taken to a frozen lake in the dead of winter, inviting guests to step inside a dozen or so tiny spaces where artists, scientists, teachers, and others help people explore a variety of themes and ideas, sharing creativity, communal space, and… air. Those tiny shanties force you to share a lot of air.  

So, yeah. Since we’re still in the middle of an airborne plague, things have to change in order to keep people at the Shanties safe. Their solution: simply keep it all outdoors.

“Artists are innovators, and when presented with a design challenge they adapt in impressive, enthusiastic ways,” explains artistic director Erin Lavelle. “They’ve all interpreted the new guidelines very differently, and I won’t be surprised if this expands the definition of a ‘shanty’ for future seasons post-pandemic—if there is a post-pandemic.”

The planned projects sound pretty rad. There will be ice sculptures that visitors will be encouraged to smash, a giant amp-shaped Shanty where local musicians and DJs will play tunes and spin records, a translucent clock tower where the Winding Sheet Outfit will give performances, and a hands-on origami project were folks can make giant fortune-telling kaleidoscopes.

The schedule also includes a free open-air market where visitors can give mittens and hats a forever home, a climate-inspired fashion show, frozen yoga led by BIPOC instructors, lacrosse game sessions, and an installation of 600 ceramic flowers by Damien Wolf.  

“Many of these projects encourage playful movement to keep warm, while others focus on more serious topics facing our city and world,” says Lavelle.

Climate change is also a major theme–and reality–for the Art Shanty Projects. This year artists were asked to build structures at a lower weight and to add quick movability elements so pieces can shift off the ice to the nearby beach should the surface become precarious.

Now for the important details: The Art Shanty Projects will take to the ice (hopefully!) on Bde Unma/Lake Harriet from January 15 through February 6, 2022. Open hours will be Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although this year’s celebration is entirely outside, masks will still be strongly encouraged. (Added bonus: They keep your face warm!) And while admission is technically free, there is a suggested donation of $10-$20 to keep things going into the future.