2024 Call for Shanty Artists

UPDATE 7/14/23: The deadline for the Open Calls has passed. Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals!


Art Shanty Projects is currently seeking winter enthusiasts and creative adventurers to design, construct and activate shanty projects for the 2024 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 (or ‘beach’ as climate change may dictate).

The 2024 On-Ice event will take place on Bdé Umáŋ (Lake Harriet) from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 20 – February 11, 2024. With UPDATED guidelines and requirements in response to COVID, climate change and accessibility, we encourage you to read the specifics carefully, and to attend the Artist Forum on June 20 (register here!)

This call is for SHANTY ARTISTS only; the call for PERFORMANCES + 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 here!


We required all shanties in 2022 and 2023 to present an exterior-only experience for visitors due to the ongoing pandemic. Artists expanded the notion of what a shanty project can be, adapting to this new design challenge with ingenuity and flair! Through this we learned that exterior experiences were supportive of accessibility goals, reduced lines for participants, and created an even more vibrant social village from every angle.

In 2024 we invite artists to build upon what we learned – and although we are inviting artists to once again build a classic shanty with an interior experience for visitors, ALL SHANTIES must also be meaningfully activated in some way on the exterior.


Classic shanties (with a twist):

  • Artists can welcome visitors inside again, yay!
  • Even in this scenario, artists are required to also activate the exterior in some meaningful way. This is a NEW requirement that supports our accessibility plan, reduces waiting in lines, and creates a vibrant village at every turn.

Exterior Shanties:

  • Not comfortable inviting people in? No problem! Artists can design shanties for an exterior experience for visitors
  • In this scenario, artists can be outside OR inside
  • Artists can build in a warming space for themselves if they like

Some ideas of exterior experiences (which may also inform the exterior aspect of a ‘classic’ shanty):

  • 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.


We enthusiastically welcome visitors of all ages and abilities, and shanty artists must incorporate accessibility into their physical and engagement design! If your project is selected our staff will work with you on your accessibility plan.


Everyone is eligible, because everyone is an artist! We are creating a community environment for co-learning. There are no application fees. Projects that involve selling anything or the exchange of legal currency will not be accepted!

Artists are not expected to have experience with everything we ask about in this proposal, but should demonstrate an eagerness to engage and develop new skills and be open to new perspectives and ideas. Each year we have a balance of returning shanty artists and newbies – and informal mentorship takes place. 


 The stipend amount for 2024 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 and sharing of best practices throughout the process, as well as additional resources for discounted materials and resource sharing through our partner organizations, whenever possible. In 2023 80% of artists reported that some or all of their materials were either repurposed (free) or purchased secondhand/used at a discounted price. 

During the program ASP also supports artists by providing a warming shanty for artists & performers, a hot meal (we are able to accommodate almost all dietary considerations), snacks, hot beverages, hand and toe warmers, one parking space per project, and a cheerful and hardworking staff to support the smooth operation of the festival. We also have a medic onsite for any minor needs.



June 20, 6 – 7:30 pm: ARTIST FORUM (online – register in advance here!)

July 13: Deadline for proposal submissions (11:59pm CST) 

August: Artists selected and notified

September 19, 6-8pm: In-person 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 9, 6pm: All-artist check-in (virtual, mandatory for at least 1 member from each artist team)

January 13-14: Installation on the ice at Bdé Umáŋ (time slots to be scheduled in advance)

January 20 – February 11: On-Ice Program, every Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm

February 1: Member Night on Ice – evening, TBD (optional)

February 8: alternate date for Member Night on Ice – evening, TBD (optional; only in case of bad weather on Feb 1)

February 17-18* 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 our FULL GUIDELINES + Application Questions before beginning your proposal!

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.

Photo of shanty painted with flowers and butterflies in the snow
people gather in a light-filled shanty with a lattice roof
people dance inside a dark shanty with a colorful lit-up dance floor and silver space blanket walls

Exterior and interior scenes from a couple of 2018 and 2020 shanties. Photos: Shine On Photos, Free Truth Media, ASP staff.