Art Shanty event comes to Lake Harriet

Creative art exhibition promotes community, local artists

Ruby Stillman

Lake Harriet was a bustling scene — oldies music playing, a huge multicolored squid kite flying in the air and hundreds of people all ages bundled up — biking, sledding and snowshoeing around to explore each art shanty on Jan. 27.

The On-Ice annual event led by the Art Shanty Project takes place on a different lake each winter. Local artists create little buildings, or shanties, to express their interactive artistic style. These shanties were anything from a Twister game, with each shape being a Minnesota lake, to a mini-opera puppet show house. Meanwhile, tens of kites of all kinds drifted above in the sky.

The attractions suit all ages. From little kids waddling around in their snow gear, to elderly people equipped with walking sticks, the variety of options ensure universal engagement.

The events included a bingo shanty, a shrine to the sacrifice made by minnows as bait for fishing throughout the year and a knitting shanty decorated with yarn and needles.

By the bandshell, food trucks and hot cider were readily available despite the long lines. Peace Coffee provided free coffee and a shanty equipped with the cream and sugar to accompany it.

The only hindrances of enjoyment included the likelihood of slipping on the ice and the major traffic it created around the lakes, but as long as visitors had good boots and prepared to walk far distances for parking, they were fine.

According to the programs’ information booklet, the Art Shanty project is invested in the welfare of their artists and dedicated to having an open mind when it comes to new forms of expression.

“Our mission is to foster an artist-driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand our notions of art. Art Shanty Projects strives to honor the environment in which we work, to pay artists a fair wage, and to create a community of inclusivity and joy.”

On top of all this, it’s totally free. This event is a perfect opportunity to go outside in the winter and explore new and unique art in the community.

The On-Ice program is open Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 3-4, at 10-11,10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To see more, visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story