2023 Call for Shanty Artists

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

Art Shanty Projects is currently seeking winter enthusiasts and creative adventurers to design, construct and staff shanty projects for the 2023 On-Ice Program. We invite music-makers, poets, builders, scientists, dancers, puppeteers, writers, dreamers, activists, 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 2023 On-Ice event will take place on Bde Unma (Lake Harriet) from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 21 – February 12, 2023. With continued guidelines and requirements in response to COVID, climate change and accessibility, we encourage you to read the specifics carefully, and to review the slides (with LOTS of pictures to help illustrate guidelines) from our June 16 Artist Forum.

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

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 2023 is $2500 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, 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: Project production meetings, as needed (virtual); preliminary content forms due (so we can announce your projects!)

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

November: Project build visits (in-person; will be individually scheduled)

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


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

January 14-15: Installation on the ice at Bde Unma (time slots to be scheduled in advance)

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

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

February 18-19* Deinstallation (time slots to be scheduled in advance)

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

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


Please visit our FAQs.

Download the SHANTY ARTIST GUIDELINES AND APPLICATION QUESTIONS before beginning your proposal.

Review the Shanty Juror Rubric so you understand how applications are scored.

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


A shanty artist leans out of a window to hand something to a crowd outside.
Visitors clap for a performer who is inside a clear clocktower shanty
A person winds up their arm, ready to throw ice into a shanty rage room
visitors look inside a set of giant kaleidoscopes

Shanty scenes from the 2022 program illustrate a few pandemic adaptive designs. Photos courtesy Free Truth Media.