2023 FAQs for Applicants

We’re excited to return to the ice of Bde Unma (Lake Harriet) again for our 2023 program! We are continuing our pandemic and climate change adaptations, with a few minor tweaks.

We hope to proactively answer questions you may have here — but if new ones come up, please message program@artshantyprojects.org. Thanks!

Where and when will ASP 2023 happen?

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. Installation weekend will be January 14-15, and deinstallation will happen February 18-19. 

Is it still exterior-only? Can visitors go inside shanties yet? What’s the dealio? 

Art Shanty Projects 2023 will once again be an entirely exterior experience for visitors. 

Hmmm, I wonder why? Other places are operating indoors, why can’t Art Shanty Projects? I want to understand!

Artists had great success with this in 2022, adapting with whimsical creativity and expanding the notion of what a shanty project can be! We were fortunate to be able to run our program, uninterrupted, during the omicron surge when most indoor arts events were paused or canceled (btw, public surveys also demonstrated overwhelming favor for the choices we made and overall experience).

The trajectory of the pandemic is still taking twists and turns, and our decisions are made in the spirit of abundant caution and love for our community (and with input from past and prospective artists!). It still feels a bit too risky to share air with strangers inside small structures, and we do not have the capacity or desire to enforce vaccinations or masking.

Additionally, at this moment we are seeking both health and stability as an organization, and we have to assess all of our risks carefully. This is a demonstrated safe way to continue exchanging winter joy with tens of thousands of people, within our budget & capacity, and in alignment with our values. 

Will these changes be forever?!?!

Nope! This is still a temporary continuation of our pandemic program adaptations, and we look forward to eventually going back to interior shanties one day.

Since artists have to be outside all day, what is Art Shanty Projects doing to keep artists warm and happy?

We’re glad you asked! While reflecting on how 2022 went, and in preparation for the 2023 program and artist calls, we polled past artists on this very topic. Their number one suggestion was to add a warming house to the village. So we’re finding a way to do it! (This is in addition to the artist warming house that is on shore). We will also continue to provide hand and toe warmers for artists + performers, and offer suggestions on how to stay warm. 

Remember: there are many creative ways for shanty artists to inhabit their shanties, as evidenced by groups in 2022. Just because visitors are not allowed inside, doesn’t mean artists are not!

What other adaptations have stuck?

We will again feature a greater balance of performances and art actions around the village each day, ensuring the most vibrant outdoor village imaginable.

We continue to challenge artists and performers to make their projects more accessible, easily movable (in case of melting ice), and COVID-concious for themselves and audiences.  Specific requirements can all be found, in detail, in the Open Call documents. Staff will again provide support in these areas to selected participants.

Do you have pictures of past shanties, performances, and performance spaces?

Of course we do! We encourage you to review the slides from our June 16 Artist Forum which contain many examples from past years. Also scroll through our IG and FB accounts to see the shanty village in action.

Will you still be taking donations at the gate in 2023? Why do you do this?

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!  Individual contributions make up the majority of our income – we couldn’t continue our program without this support. Please read our 2022 Program Recap for more detailed financial information.

How will 2023 be accessible to people?

We will offer our fleet of kicksleds, daily ASL interpretation and audio description, and ramps to the surface of the frozen lake. Artists are asked to apply with projects that consider accessibility goals, and shanties that have elevated platforms are required to have ramps. Our website has been redesigned with enhanced accessibility features for people who use screen readers. Our social media includes alt text on all images.

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 new ‘performance stage’ this year. What does that mean?

The stage will be an artist-designed platform / pavilion for performers who want a more presentational place to perform.  It will accommodate an audience that is standing or seated on the ice. (It hasn’t been designed yet! We are being intentional in commissioning something that can last in future years, not just this one time. Fun details to come!) 

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. Even a duo can easily get overwhelmed. Building and moving the shanty requires multiple people, and artists need breaks from both engaging with crowds and sometimes unpredictable weather conditions. Also, it’s important to have a backup staffing plan in case someone on your shanty team gets sick (especially in COVID times).

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. It’s also OK if you don’t have your full team assembled at the point of application, as long as you’re confident you’ll find the support you need once accepted.

(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 should 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 achieve anything beyond what ASP offers.

Materials are SO EXPENSIVE! How can I make an affordable shanty project?!

Ugh, we know. It’s a difficult time to make art – and also a time when we need it the most.

Shanty builders are historically very good at being resourceful, using repurposed materials whenever possible to reduce costs, and in alignment with our community’s sustainability values.

There are many local resources for purchasing repurposed materials. Check out Better Futures, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the University of Minnesota ReUse Program, even thrift shops. We’ve had artists build amazing creations using a large percentage of FREE materials such as: pallets, discarded fences, decommissioned shanties, disassembled art shipping crates, cardboard, bubble wrap, and more! Good places to start for this include neighborhood Buy Nothing groups, Next Door, local stores (for pallets especially), etc.  Occasionally Art Shanty Projects gets offers of free materials, which we pass along to artists.

What’s up with the shanty stipends? Have they stayed the same?

Shanty stipends have increased significantly over the last 5 years (and modestly this year):

2016, 2017, 2018: $1500
2020, 2022: $2400
2023: $2500

This year we have made a $100 increase to shanty stipends. We hope and plan to increase shanty stipends more in the future. The arts are still severely underfunded and the pandemic hasn’t been doing us any financial favors!

Who selects the artists?

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 2022 jurors on our website, for reference (the 2023 jurors will be announced after artists have been selected). Jurors receive an honorarium for their work.

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. This is the same as 2022.

How many performances + art actions will there be?

Stipends for these projects are scalable, so 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 16 performance groups through the open call process. We will also present a few additional projects through partner organizations. This is similar to 2022, but more performance groups than in earlier years.

I have a project idea – can someone review it in advance and give advice?

We do not have staff capacity to review or advise on proposal ideas in advance. But we look forward to reading your application, and we encourage you to submit it. We think the application is in an approachable format, we hope you do too.

What if I still have questions?!

Please email program@artshantyprojects.org with any questions related to the process, guidelines, support, timeline, etc.

Banner photo courtesy Free Truth Media