Announcing our new mission statement!

Announcing our new mission statement!
A reflection from the ceiling of Spectra Gigs shanty, winter 2020. Photo: ASP staff

In this year off the ice we made a commitment to re-assess where we’re at as an organization, why we exist, how we want to grow, and what will guide our journey. Through a 2-day retreat led by Tana Hargest and Bethany Whitehead, and countless hours of additional discussion, shared documents, and action steps, we are pleased to have a new mission, vision, and guiding principles. These key documents will continue to shape the internal structure, processes and activities of the organization.

Art Shanty Projects has grown and shifted significantly over the years. While we maintain the essential spirit of our intrepid beginnings on Medicine Lake in 2004, we are now grounded within an urban community and wider public network. It’s important to honor these changes with updated language that will inform our creative offerings and engagement.


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.


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.


  • 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.

Our retreat was made possible with a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council through the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund.