2022 Open Call for Shanty Artists

Deadline for applications: 11:59pm CST – Thursday, July 15, 2021

Art Shanty Projects is currently seeking winter enthusiasts and creative adventurers to design, construct and staff shanty projects for the 2022 On-Ice Program. We invite music-makers, poets, builders, scientists, dancers, puppeteers, writers, outdoors-people, conversationalists, craftspeople, storytellers, etc. to propose new and innovative ways to engage artistically with the public in the social context of a village on a frozen lake. 

The 2022 On-Ice Program will take place on Bde Unma / Lake Harriet from 10am – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 18 – February 9, 2022. Installation will be January 8 – 9, and deinstallation will happen February 12 – 13.

This call is for shanty artists only; the call for performances and art actions is available HERE.


Art Shanty Projects intentionally creates an impermanent art village on Minnesota lake ice amid changing climate and environment. With a spirit of embracing challenges through creativity, we support an ecosystem that inspires everyone to create and participate in art, thrive in winter, and build community.


Since 2004 Art Shanty Projects has created joyful winter art experiences for grown adults and kids of all ages. Inspired by pop-up ice fishing villages, we use the frozen lake as a public platform to create a temporary creative community, immersing participants in a colorful village filled with interactive installations and performances. With few regulations and no building codes – and against intense and unpredictable winter weather conditions – artists of all career stages and disciplines have the freedom and challenge to create wild and wonderful work that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Together, with tens of thousands of annual visitors, we celebrate, champion, and embrace the extreme winter sport of art making. 

Art Shanty Projects is deeply committed to social, racial, gender, and economic justice. Our community of participants – artists, visitors, sponsors, staff, and board – includes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), FTW (Femme, Trans, Women) and queer (LGBTQIA2S+) individuals, and people with disabilities. ASP is committed to building accessibility into the fabric of how we do art and what we expect from artists. We embrace the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in our commitment to assuring that all members of our community can participate as fully as possible in our arts events, programs, meetings, facilities and communications. 

Read more about our newly revised vision and guiding principles here!


Art Shanty Projects is a joyful expression of public art, and we have a commitment to prioritize public health in our operations. As the trajectory of the pandemic is still unknown, and in the spirit of abundant caution and love for our community, we are offering an EXTERIOR-ONLY EXPERIENCE for visitors in 2022. 

We ask that all applicants remain covid-conscious with their building, staffing and audience engagement. This may include: wearing masks and physically distancing and not sharing air with unvaccinated people and/or people beyond their pods. At the time of this posting we plan to have all artists and audiences wear masks for the On-Ice Program. We will be in discussion collectively about any further decisions that impact the shanty community and the public programming as we approach the winter season.

With this in mind, shanty proposals should reflect engagement with audiences who are OUTSIDE ONLY. Ideas for this include (but are not limited to):

  • Structures that are purely outdoor engagement with no enclosed space (past examples include a giant kaleidoscope, a teeter-totter contraption, a rocking boat)
  • Shanties in which artists are inside, and they interact with visitors who are on the outside. This could be through aquarium style viewing, secret compartments, take-out-style windows, or other creative adaptations to connect interior and exterior spaces.
  • Shanties that have an exterior experience for both visitors and artists, but the indoor is designed as a back of house space for the artist team breaks + storage.
  • Shanties that are not fully enclosed, and people walk through, around, over or under.
  • Other types of interactive sculptural or kiosk-style contraptions — dream away and propose something fanciful! Just remember, we are not building a sculpture park and your work should have direct participatory elements.

TIPS: Artists may want to consider designing projects that keep audiences warm by incorporating physical activity, windscreens, or other elements/ideas. While we have a back-of-house space for artists to shelter from the wind and take a brief break, this space will be prioritized for performers (who don’t have the advantage of having a shanty for themselves) and will not be a place to linger in, eat meals, or relax. We encourage artists to consider designing their project to incorporate a place for themselves to warm-up or take a break – or to be prepared to layer up and be outside most of the day!


Everyone is eligible, because everyone is an artist! We are creating a community environment for co-learning. Artists are not expected to have experience with everything we ask about, but should demonstrate an eagerness to engage and develop new skills and be open to new perspectives and ideas. There are no application fees. Projects that involve selling anything or the exchange of legal currency will not be accepted.


The stipend amount for 2022 is $2400 for each shanty project. 

Art Shanty Projects does its best to support artists fiscally and logistically. In addition to the stipend, we provide direct production support throughout the process, as well as additional resources for discounted materials and resource sharing through our partner organizations. 


June 15, 6:30-8pm: ARTIST FORUM: PROGRAM CHANGES AND APPLICATION PROCESS (online – register in advance here!)
June 23, 6:30-8pm: ARTIST FORUM: COLLABORATION MIXER (online – register in advance here!) 
July 15: Deadline for proposal submissions (11:59pm CST) 
August: Artists selected and announced; contracts sent
September 8, 6-8pm: Meeting for all Shanty Artists and Performers (SAVE THIS DATE in case your proposal is selected; this will be a mandatory meeting for at least one member of your team); Paperwork due at this time (contract, community agreement, leave no trace policy)
October: Project production meeting (virtual; will be individually scheduled);
October 2: Artist Study Hall (virtual; optional) – co-learning, ask questions, share tips
November: Project build visits (in-person if possible; will be individually scheduled)
December: Final artist content due (images + project descriptions for website and print materials)

January 5: All-artist check-in meeting, 6-7pm (virtual, mandatory)
January 8-9: Installation on the ice at Bde Unma (time slots to be scheduled in advance)
January 15 – February 6: On-Ice Program, every Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
February 3: Member Night on Ice – evening, TBD (optional)
February 12-13 Deinstallation (time slots to be scheduled in advance)
February 13: All shanties need to be off the ice* 
February 19: Wrap Party – time TBD (optional)

*Depending on weather conditions artists may be required to move shanties off the ice at an earlier date.


Artists should take the following guidelines into consideration when designing or developing an idea to submit a successful proposal. All selected artists will receive consultation and resources for best practices from staff and past shanty artists to ensure a successful project.

1. Environment

  • The design of the project should take the environment and variable winter weather conditions into consideration, including wind, snow, extreme cold, rain, etc. 
  • Generators are not allowed at any time. We recommend using the principle of “low tech, high impact” to creatively make your project ‘work’, which may involve employing people power (think: bike-generated contraptions, manual levers or cranks, etc.). If the project requires other types of power, options include solar power, deep cycle batteries, and renewable methods for charging. Note that these options may not work perfectly in extremely cold weather conditions.
  • Prioritize, whenever possible, using repurposed materials (which are more sustainable, and also less expensive – FYI lumber prices are currently VERY high!). Also consider the future life of your materials (can they be repurposed again or recycled?)
  • Consider the environmental impact of any heating sources you choose to use. For (artist-only) interior spaces we highly recommend passive solar (like a greenhouse!) as a no-fuel option. For both outdoors and indoors, physical activity is also a great option! Interior propane heaters that are UL or CE rated (“Little Buddy” or similar) are allowed. We cannot guarantee at time of application that wood burning stoves, outdoor propane heaters, or fire pits will be allowed. Staff are working on redefining our guidelines around this with respect to air quality and city regulations. It’s OK to propose these, but do not submit a proposal that relies on them.

2. Structure 

  • Elaborate set-up is not recommended. It’s not a simple task to assemble things on a windy, cold, frozen lake while wearing mittens!
  • The lake sees intense winds which places incredible strain and wear on structures. Design your project to minimize the chance of materials falling off, blowing away, and being scattered as litter and/or frozen into the ice. 
  • The project should be designed to be physically accessible to people interacting at different heights (adults, children, people in wheelchairs, etc), which may include designing interactive elements at various levels, having a ramp incorporated into your structure, etc. We will review specific requirements with selected artists.

3. Safety

  • The Minnesota DNR requires two things of shanty artists: a Dark House Permit, and reflective material must be placed on all sides of the shanty for nighttime safety (when the village is not active). This can be silver paint or tape, reflectors, or other highly shiny objects. There are nominal costs associated with these items (see budget section below).
  • There are certain things that are not allowed for safety reasons, including ice carousels, holes cut into the ice for swimming, tents or fabric shelters that need to be staked into the ice and/or that can easily catch wind and blow away, etc. If you are unsure about your proposed activity, please contact us with questions before submitting it.

4. Movability

NEW REQUIREMENTS IN RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: This year we challenge our community to make shanties easier to move as we face the increasing risk of melting ice due to climate change! 

While ASP will provide a skidloader during installation and deinstallation weekends to move shanties across the ice, please propose a structure that can be adjusted quickly in melting and refreezing conditions and that can be moved easily on and off the ice (300’ or more, and up a boat ramp), intact, at short notice, should the ice become unsafe. When assessing movability, consider these requirements:

  • Incorporating wooden skis into the design (usually made of 2×6 or 2×10 lumber)
  • The ability to be quickly moved by people power, at short notice, in unsafe conditions (i.e. just the people in your own team/pod) 
  • Weight (nothing more than 1500 lbs, less is probably better). For reference, the average car weighs 4000 lbs, a grand piano weighs 1000 lbs, a snowmobile weighs 500 lbs. 
  • Size/shape (nothing too unwieldy)

5. Community

  • Our festival is open to all ages and abilities. Elements should be appealing to and appropriate for adults, some of whom might be looking after children.
  • Collaboration is key! When building, installing, and de-installing, there are many physical and logistical challenges that are much easier when working with others. We recommend teams of 4 or more. We do not accept proposals from ‘teams’ of 1.
  • All artists, staff, board members and volunteers will sign a community agreement, which is intended to support an inclusive space. It includes a commitment to respecting pronouns, using gender neutral language with strangers, getting consent to take photos, holding ourselves accountable to one another when we cause or witness harm, etc.


All proposals will be reviewed by a small panel of professional artists, curators, arts administrators and a representative from the Art Shanty Projects Board of Directors based on the following criteria:

  • Vision: An exciting idea with adherence to Art Shanty Projects artistic goals and with a sound plan for audience engagement.
  • Design and Feasibility: Clear understanding of design/building requirements and evidence of capacity to successfully build the structure, staff the project during public hours, and engage with the community of participants (including artists, visitors, volunteers, staff and board members).


  • Jurors read a lot of proposals. Help them out by answering each question directly and plainly. 
  • Do not assume jury members know you or are familiar with your work. Make sure if you reference past projects (even if they’re Art Shanty projects), you include them in your work samples.
  • Do not assume that just because you have done your project before, it will get chosen again. Make a strong case for it! Also, adapt it to the new guidelines!
  • Share a draft of your written proposal with someone else to read. Ask them to verbally describe your project back to you. This might help identify what is clear, and what needs more definition.


Please visit our FAQs!

Attend one of our Artist Forums
(register in advance, zoom link will be sent closer to event date)
Program Changes & Application Process – June 15, 6:30pm
Collaboration Mixer – June 23, 6:30pm

Download our guidelines + application questions prior to working on your proposal: