Art Shanties


Each winter, when Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes inevitably freeze over, tiny houses begin to appear out on the ice. They provide shelter for the ice fishers, who drill holes into the ice and wait for a bite. Many structures also have beds and stoves so that a person could stay in them for days—which many people do—and temporary winter villages are the result.

The seasonal communities that appear in these somewhat ambiguous public spaces inspired the founders of the Art Shanty Projects to create their own community on the ice. Each year, artists propose projects that are designed to be involve the audience and create an atmosphere of engagement.

Art Shanty White Bear Lake Minnesota
The Dance Shanty
It looks quiet and peaceful, but when I took this photo, the dance music was blaring and dozens of people were inside dancing and hootin’ and hollerin’. Live DJs and dance lessons.

Town Hall Shanty (left)
All kinds of goings on including a “wedding” on the day we visited.

The Pedal Bear
Audience members are invited to power the bear in an ice track around the shanties.


Other projects included a traditional Finnish sauna, a curling clubhouse, and a zoetrope.

We brought Metro along for the day. It was a great opportunity for him to try out his new booties designed to protect his paws on the ice. This Vine video shows him getting used to how they feel!

Art Shanty Projects
Open Saturdays and Sundays through the end of February



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