About Us

about Us

a boxy red shanty on a snowy lake with a shovel resting next to the open door.Since 2004 Art Shanty Projects has created whimsical, weird and joyful winter art experiences for grown-ass adults and kids of all ages.

Inspired by pop-up ice fishing villages, artists use the frozen lake as a public platform to create a temporary, interactive community. With few regulations and no building codes – and against intense and unpredictable winter weather conditions – artists have the freedom and challenge to create wild and wonderful work that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Together, with our visitors, we celebrate, champion, and embrace the extreme winter sport of art making. And, to answer everyone’s #1 question: Nope! We do not fish in our shanties. You’d need a license for that!

Art Shanty Projects is a four-weekend, winter art program attracting over 27,000 annual visitors of all ages to explore interactive public art in an extreme environment. More than 150 artists are given stipends to use the frozen lake as a public platform to create and present interactive art shanty installations and a rotating schedule of daily performances. Visitors can ride bicycles decorated like butterflies, peer through a huge kaleidoscope, write a love letter to a park, or climb inside a giant bird house.

A woman rides a bike with a butterly attached to it
two groups of people sit at the base of a large white structure
A woman walks away from a blue and green shanty, wearing a sign that says 'Ask me anything'


a bird's eye view of three dice shaped shanties with several people walking between them

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.


a dizzying view from inside the giant kaleidoscope! There are 8 reflections of the person standing in the middle.
A person gets dizzy as the Spectra Gigs kaleidoscope spins. Photo: Free Truth Media

Our vision for the future is to spark new ideas, encourage the discovery and development of existing artistic skills, and break down the barriers between artist and participant through unexpected encounters with a vibrant artistic village.

We reinterpret traditions that sustain communities through winter to forge new pathways of connectedness using art to shape a world where people and planet are respected, healthy, and thriving. We strive for a community without hierarchy. Instead, we work to share power and resources.

We celebrate the skills and unique talents each individual brings to the project and aspire to compensate people fairly for their labor. Artists create the shanties, performances, and art actions of their imaginations, not limited by access to resources.

We build accessibility into the fabric of how we do art and we work to remove all barriers of access for participants. We demonstrate a deep commitment to social, racial, gender, and economic justice through our actions, processes, and program.

We actively work toward zero waste, sustainable gatherings. Material resources are consciously chosen and sourced, reused, repurposed, and recycled. Our people power continues to be useful throughout the year. Our vision for the future is fueled by joy and creative celebration.

Guiding Principles

A group of adults dance in the trampled snow, in a circular formation, facing the center. Some wear butterfly wings on their bundled up bodies.
A pollination dance in the snow, 2020. Photo: Free Truth Media
  • Nurture participatory art-making experiences and provide a platform to create art while breaking down the distinction between artist and participant.
  • Challenge status quo systems through our processes with a specific desire to recognize the redistribution of wealth and resources as critical to our community’s success.
  • Move in the world with the values of connection and interconnectedness, and with a goal of strengthening our interdependence within our communities.
  • Create more possibilities by sharing resources and centering an attitude of abundance in our communications, actions, and ideals.
  • Be a beacon that draws individuals and groups together through our work, shares its resources and light outward, and fosters community partnerships and relationships.
  • Manifest environmental stewardship as an expanded understanding of our place within the ecosystem and as a caring and nurturing voice for the environment.
  • Weave accessibility into our work as an invitation for creativity, and build accessibility into the fabric of how we do art and what we expect of our community, inclusive of ourselves.
  • Demonstrate a deep commitment to social, racial, gender, and economic justice, and actively work to identify and remove the barriers and challenges that historically marginalized groups face in accessing community art, gatherings, and winter activities
  • Welcome diverse lived experiences not traditionally found within ASP to our decision-making tables and make room for more racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and cultural diversity and ambiguity, with an ultimate goal to decenter the historic whiteness found in the organization and communities at large.
  • Sustain and contribute to a culture of vigilant review and revision in our language, plans, policies, procedures, and goals.