2023 Call for Performances + Art Actions

The open call deadline has passed. We look forward to reviewing proposals.

Art Shanty Projects is currently seeking winter enthusiasts and creative adventurers to propose art actions and performances for our 2023 On-Ice Program. We invite music-makers, poets, scientists, dancers, puppeteers, writers, outdoors-people, conversationalists, activists, athletes, 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. 

We are open to many types of activities: dance, plays, creative sporting events, happenings, games, musical performances, temporary installations, puppet shows, artful haircuts, advice booths, and more.

We will once again be on Bde Unma (Lake Harriet). The event will run from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 21 – February 12, 2023.

We encourage you to review the slides from our June 16 artist forum, which help illustrate different types of performance activities + spaces.

*This call is for PERFORMANCES + ART ACTIONS only. The call for shanty artists is available HERE.


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. 

Please read our Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles!


Artists had great success with the exterior-only festival in 2022, adapting with whimsical creativity and expanding the notion of what a shanty project can be! With the trajectory of the pandemic still taking twists and turns, and in the spirit of abundant love and caution for our community, we are once again offering an EXTERIOR-ONLY program in 2023 for visitors (artists can still be inside!). This is temporary (we won’t do this forever), and is also the most stable choice for our organization at this time. 

We ask that all applicants remain COVID-conscious with their rehearsing, design, building, staffing and audience engagement. 

For an expanded explanation on HOW and WHY we chose this, visit our FAQs! TLDR: surveyed artists, members of the public, staff & board are overwhelmingly in support of this.


We have several types of spaces to offer: 

  1. The town square – this is a large open space in the middle of the village. It is surrounded by shanties and is a hub of activity. It’s ideal for performances that draw larger crowds and can handle a bit of mild chaos (examples of projects that did well here a participatory flash mob, a game of trash-ket ball).
  2. At our new performance stage! This will be an open-air platform/pavilion of sorts, still to be designed. This is best for more presentational performances. If you need a grounding space or backdrop for your performance, it’s a good option for you. (examples of past projects that would do well here: Taiko drumming, theatrical shows)
  3. Pathways and in-between spaces – performing anywhere in and around plowed paths and areas between shanties in the village. (roving projects are ideal for these spaces Winter Plein Air PaintersLady Bear)
  4. At a specific shanty (note: this needs to be coordinated with the shanty, and depends on acceptance of both projects!)
  5. In another open space, tbd (there are always some projects that have specific needs, which we will do our best to accommodate! Examples include an Ice skating performance and Native lacrosse)

Depending on weather conditions projects may be required to perform on shore if the ice conditions are not safe.


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 greatest stipend amount for 2023 is up to $800 for performing artists and teams. The amount awarded will be determined by the total number of projects selected and their individual plans/needs, as outlined in the proposals. 

We recommend the following guidelines when considering your budget (though we understand there are other factors than time that you might take into consideration, such as number of people involved, material costs, etc):

$800 – an activity that lasts an entire day, two half days, or once every weekend

$400 – an activity that lasts a half day, or for two shorter periods over two days

$200 – activities that are short, and happen only once

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 whenever possible.



June 16, 6 – 7:30 pm: ARTIST FORUM (online – register in advance here!)

July 18 (deadline extended!): proposal submissions due (midnight CST) 

August: Artists selected and notified

September 15, 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 – date TBD: Artist Study Hall  (in person!) – build community of peers, share tips, ask questions, get inspired

October – November: Project production meetings (virtual or in person); preliminary content forms due (so we can announce your projects!)

December: Final artist content due (images + project descriptions for website; accessibility notes)


January 11, 6pm: All-artist check-in (virtual, mandatory)

January 21 – February 12: On-Ice Program, every Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm

February 2: Member Night on Ice – evening, TBD (optional)

February (date TBD): Wrap Party (in person, optional)


Please visit our FAQs.

Download the  PERFORMANCES + ART ACTIONS – guidelines and application questions before beginning your proposal.

Review the Performances + Art Actions Juror Rubric so you know how applications are scored.

If we haven’t proactively answered your question, contact Erin Lavelle, Artistic Director: program@artshantyprojects.org


A person holds a mic and sings with closed eyes against a shiny shanty wall
Four people pose holding traditional wooden lacrosse sticks
Ice skaters leap into the air
a performer dressed as an oil slick taunts a crowd

Scenes from the 2022 program illustrate a variety of performance and art action ideas. Photos courtesy Free Truth Media