Skip to main content

The Art Shanty Projects, which turns fish houses into art installations on a frozen lake, will be back this winter after pausing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The annual festival, which began in 2004, is returning to frozen Lake Harriet on weekends from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 15, 2022, through Feb. 6, 2022. 

But things will be a bit different this year, with festival organizers adapting to COVID-19 and climate change. 

The artist-designed shanties will be exterior-only this year due to the ongoing pandemic, so artists have been tasked with proposing projects that people can engage with while in the open air. In previous years, attendees could go inside the shanties to interact with the art installation.

And in an effort to not repeat what happened in 2016 and 2017, when a winter warm-up forced the Art Shanty Projects to pull the shanties off the ice on White Bear Lake early and re-set them on the beach, festival organizers have added new requirements for artists. 

There are now weight restrictions for the shanties and each shanty must have moveability features, such as wooden skids, so it's easier to move them to land in case ice conditions start to deteriorate (this is referred to as "Plan Beach"). 

“Artists are innovators, and when presented with a design challenge they adapt in impressive, enthusiastic ways. The array of selected shanties is so enticing! 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)," artistic director Erin Lavelle said in a news release.

This year's shanties will be done by returning artists and newcomers. Emma Wood, for example, will feature an outdoor rage room — Reduce, Reuse, Rage— where people can throw and smash molded ice that started as lake water. 

“The social aspect of the village is always important, and the performances (and) art actions are critical in fostering exchange with visitors and initiating the connections we all hunger for after these long periods of isolation. Many of these projects encourage playful movement to keep warm, while others focus on more serious topics facing our city and world, all with a truly unique Art Shanty aesthetic," Lavelle said.

The on-ice program this winter will also include Free Store Shanty from past shanty artists and volunteers. This open-air market will offer winterwear to festivalgoers to keep. It's a new initiative by staff to help keep people warm and happy outside while expanding accessibility efforts. The hope is this will be an annual fixture at the festival. 

There will be special events, too. Bridges Through Yoga will teach Fro-gahh: Yoga for the Planet and the People every Saturday afternoon and Minneapolis Hoop Jams will host hula hoop activities on Sunday mornings. 

On the final weekend, Twin Cities Native Lacross will invite people to connect with Dakota land, water, people and culture through collaborative lacrosse games. And artist Patt Paulson will host Fashion Disasters, a costumed spectacle on the threats of climate change. It will also host a community climate action at noon on the final Sunday of the festival.

You can find the full schedule of performances and art actions on the Art Shantry Projects website here

For those who plan to attend, there's a suggested donation of $10-20 at the gate, with funds aimed at ensuring the program's future. This was introduced in 2020, and was key to the organization's financial health — the festival collected more than $60,000 from 27,000 visitors. 

Face masks are strongly encouraged at the festival.

Next Up


Omicron fading in Minnesota? Wastewater detection provides hope

Wastewater samples can help predict a rise or fall in COVID-19 cases.

covid vaccine card

COVID: Minneapolis, St. Paul vaccine-or-test rule for dining now in effect

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required.

freight train railroad tracks

Man crawls to safety before train hits his stuck wheelchair

The incident happened Tuesday on Highway 169.

US Bank Stadium

Sizing up Vikings coaching candidates we know about so far

A closer look at some of the head coaching candidates interviewed by the Vikings

St. Paul police

St. Paul: Man called police to report he killed his wife

Police are also investigating a separate fatal shooting in the Frogtown neighborhood.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.

FLickr - crime scene tape do not crozz

Charges: MN teen shot mom after dispute over meth

The girl's mother said there had been a dispute over methamphetamine.

bad roads, blizzard

No travel advised: High winds, whiteout conditions in NW MN

Zero visibility in parts of greater Minnesota Tuesday night.

holy angels high school j nelson

Update: Holy Angels evacuated over bomb threat, school says

Someone left a voicemail early Tuesday suggesting there was an explosive device.

radio station, microphone

Convicted stalker charged with harassment of another DJ at The Current

He pleaded guilty to similar charges involving the DJ's colleague back in 2015.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

10 new shops, food stops at Mall of America

Donuts, K-fashion, model cars — the new tenants cover a lot of bases.

Gophers basketball

Gophers fall below roster minimum, postpone Penn State game

It is "due to internal COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Gopher program."


brave new workshop

Brave New Workshop gets new owners in Hennepin Theatre Trust

It is the longest-running satirical comedy theater in the nation.

Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 10.46.52 AM

More of Bde Maka Ska Parkway to close to traffic, Lake Harriet to re-open

It's the latest efforts by the Parks and Rec Board to promote social distancing.

Art Shanty Projects will move to Minneapolis next year

It's moving to Minneapolis to be closer to its visitors (and the Super Bowl).

Lake Harriet Minneapolis

Minivan partially submerged in Lake Harriet after driver hit jogger

The driver was either impaired or had suffered a medical emergency.

harriet's inn

Harriet's Inn building in south Minneapolis for sale

The restaurant opened in 2015 and appears to have been closed since the start of the pandemic.