2022 ASP Open Call FAQs

Applications closed at 11:59pm on Thursday, July 15. We look forward to reading your proposals!

With fresh artist-generated ideas and new guidelines in response to the pandemic, climate change and accessibility, we’re excited to get back on the ice of Bde Unma (Lake Harriet) for our 2022 program in partnership with Linden Hills Neighborhood Council.

Recording of Artist Forum:

Program Changes & Application Process – June 15, 6:30pm


Where and when will ASP 2022 happen?

This will be our third winter on Bde Unma / Lake Harriet. The event will run from 10am – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 15 – February 6, 2022. Installation weekend will be January 8 – 9, and deinstallation will happen February 12 – 13. 

What are the major changes to Art Shanties in 2022?

The biggest change that impacts all participants is that Art Shanty Projects 2022 will be an entirely exterior experience. We heard time and again that artists are not comfortable with the idea of sharing air inside small structures just yet — and that they’re eager to take on this new design challenge, including finding new ways to keep everyone engaged and relatively warm on the ice.

We will also feature more performances and art actions than ever before, ensuring the most vibrant outdoor village imaginable.

Artists will also have new guidelines to incorporate accessibility features, greater movability of structures, and COVID-conscious protocols. These can all be found, in detail, in the Open Call documents. We will make decisions related to the public (such as mask wearing, capacity, physical distancing) closer to the event date. We are able to be more nimble with these changes.

Why these changes? Won’t the pandemic be over?!

Art Shanty Projects is a joyful expression of public art, and we have a commitment to prioritize public health in our operations. The trajectory of the pandemic is still unknown, and our decisions are made in the spirit of abundant caution and love for our community.

It takes MANY MONTHS (almost a whole year!) to plan for an event of our scale. In order to prepare artists for their designs, they need to know the guidelines in June and we cannot predict what will happen by January!

Who made these decisions? What did the process look like? 

For two weekends in late January / early February 2021 we hosted a design charrette with past artists over zoom to re-imagine our 2022 program. Developed and facilitated by our Directors and seasonal Production Team – and with topics sourced from the community, board members, staff and the artists themselves — 38 past artists and performers worked collaboratively and individually to help us envision the future. With a commitment to keeping the essential spirit of the Art Shanty Projects community alive, we considered program adaptations related to the evolving guidelines and concerns brought forth by the pandemic (such as physical distancing, masking, shared air, ventilation, etc), and the need to be more flexible and nimble as we face increasingly unpredictable weather and ice conditions due to climate change. Artists were compensated for their time and given materials to support and illustrate their creative process. We’re overwhelmed (in a good way!) with the creativity and energy the charrette participants invested towards taking on these challenges and enthusiastically offering ways to adjust for next winter. Their valuable input has informed our overall program structure, new artist call guidelines and requirements, and production logistics / village design. 

Wow, that’s cool. How did you pay for the charrette?

Great question! These activities were made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. They were entirely grant funded. Staff and artists were compensated for their time and contributions. Additionally Wet Paint provided art materials for artists to illustrate their ideas.

Does it cost anything to attend Art Shanties 2022?

The project is open to the public with a suggested donation, but no strict admission. No individual will be turned away due to lack of funds. Donations from the community ensure the future of our programming – we couldn’t do it without this support.

How will 2022 be accessible to people?

We will offer a new & improved fleet of kicksleds, daily ASL interpretation and audio description, and ramps to the surface of the frozen lake. Our website is currently undergoing a redesign with enhanced accessibility features for people who use screen readers. Artists will also be required to incorporate accessibility into their project design.

Hey, you mentioned cultural appropriation in the open call. What’s that? How do I make sure I’m not doing it???

We’re so glad you asked. Here are some resources that enthusiastically answer this question: https://libraryguides.saic.edu/learn_unlearn/culturalcompetence2

You mentioned there would be a ‘stage-like area’ at the town square for use by performers. What does that mean?

The stage-like area will be a simple, presentational space for artists who want a stationary spot to perform. It will accommodate an audience that is mostly standing, but with a few options for being seated. Performers bring their own equipment. If enough performers need the same (simple) equipment (such as a battery powered speaker, microphone), we are happy to coordinate the sharing of resources. Reminder: we are operating on a frozen lake! We don’t have access to electricity, generators are not allowed on the ice, and battery operated equipment only lasts so long in extreme cold! We lean into a low-tech, high impact aesthetic. (it’s possible there will also be shanties that may serve as performance spaces. If that is the case, our staff will work to connect selected performers and shanty artists for collaboration).

I’m a rad artist. I fly solo. Why don’t you accept shanty teams of one?

From past experience, ‘teams’ of one end up needing a lot of help!  We have also learned that it is unreasonable for a single artist to manage by themself. Building and moving the shanty requires multiple people, and artists need breaks from both engaging with crowds and sometimes unpredictable weather conditions. It’s OK to have a lead artist and a group of people who support them. It’s not OK to think you’ll do it alone.

(This does not relate to performers).

I’m from out of town! Can I still apply? Can you help me get to you?

While we are open to artists from anywhere, the organization does not have additional travel stipends to offer out-of-state artists.

OH NO! My dream project costs more than the stipend. What do I do?

You may want to consider scaling down your project to fit within the resources we can offer. Artists are also welcome to raise money and source in-kind goods through their own efforts to support the project of their dreams. When applying, please be real about your budget and how you might supplement anything beyond what ASP offers.

You suggested sourcing repurposed materials. Where can I find those?

There are many local resources for repurposed materials. Check out Better Futures, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the University of Minnesota ReUse Program, thrift shops, neighborhood Buy Nothing groups, etc.

I see there is a weight limit of 1500 pounds for shanties. How do I know how much my shanty will weigh?
We have a handy spreadsheet to help you determine the weight of your shanty! Make a copy for your own use! It contains a list of commonly used materials. You can input your quantities and it will calculate the estimated weight. Of course there are probably other materials you will use – but this will give you a baseline.  While it’s good to check your idea before submitting your proposal, this will become even more important to work out if you are selected, before you begin building your project.

Is there a height limit for a shanty?

NOPE! We’ve had two-story shanties, shanties with turrets and towers, etc. As long as you can assure us that it’s stable (won’t fall over) and you adhere to the movability and weight guidelines (under 1500 pounds), you’re good to build tall!

Can I submit more than one proposal? (And do more than one project?)

We want to give every applicant a fair chance, so we ask that lead artists only submit one proposal. That said, many supporting artists in the past have worked on multiple projects, and we welcome that. The shanty community celebrates collaboration and interdependence between its members.

Do you cancel performances if it’s too cold?

We keep the safety of the community in mind, and we would absolutely postpone / reschedule a performance if there were unsafe conditions. In previous years we have only done this due to weather that is too WARM (melting/unsafe ice). We have not traditionally had a ‘cold’ threshold for cancellations (though if there were dangerous weather such as extremely strong winds, we would pause). If you are selected and you have particular concerns or needs regarding weather and personal health or safety we recommend talking with our staff about it upon acceptance so we can better understand and accommodate your needs.

Do you have sample proposals to reference?

Yes! Two of our artists from 2020 have graciously offered their narrative sections and supporting materials for applicants to review, representing a shanty project and a performance project. Please keep in mind that our mission, artistic goals, guidelines and questions have changed since then – so these proposals were not evaluated on the exact same criteria as 2022 applications will be.

Who selects the artists?

Open call proposals will be juried by a panel led by the Artistic Director which consists of an Art Shanty Projects board member representative, local artists, curators, and past participants using the artistic criteria listed in the open call. You can see the 2020 jurors on our website. In the past, jurors were volunteers. In 2022 we are offering honorariums to jurors for the first time. The Artistic Director, with support from Board Members, also curates a few projects separate from the open call with partner organizations. This is in an effort to engage with artists from communities who have not historically presented work on the ice.

How many shanties will there be?

We will select 16 shanties through the open call, 1-3 additional shanties through partner organizations, plus our welcome shanty, for a total of no more than 20 shanties on the lake.

How many performances + art actions will there be?

It depends on how much money the applicants request for their activities. The jury ranks performance applications in order from highest to lowest scores, and then they go down the list until the performance budget has been spent. We estimate about 20 performance groups through the open call process. We will also present a few additional projects through partner organizations. This is more than in past years!

What else has Art Shanty Projects been doing during the pandemic?

In July 2020, when our fiscal year renewed, we made a commitment to retain staff jobs, though at reduced hours, during the pandemic. We’ve had an internal program year, choosing to strengthen our access plan, equity work, and sustainability – both financially and environmentally. We have supported the water protectors by sending shanties up north to Line 3 resistance camps. We’ve engaged in an equity retreat to update our mission/vision/guiding principles, and we met with past staff and artists (virtually, of course) to plan for the future. We have also, as individuals, been active in anti-racism learning and actions and remain engaged in our Minneapolis community. We bring that work to the organization and our ever-evolving practices.

Funding for our internal program year projects has come from MRAC (Equity Response Grant, Access Improvement Grant, Flexible Support Grant) and MSAB (Creative Support Grant).