Ice & Program Update

Ice & Program Update

Erin drills into 4″ of fresh ice near shore on January 4, 2024. Photo: James our ASP fro-gahhh instructor



We don’t have to tell you that we are experiencing the warmest winter on record this year, and that other freeze-dependent events are canceling, adapting or postponing. Luckily Art Shanty Projects is extraordinarily nimble and flexible — embracing challenges with creativity is at the heart of our mission!

Staff members have been working behind the scenes to prepare for many potential scenarios for our program this year. We’re glued to our weather apps (yay subzero temps next week!) and we’ve been making visits to the lake regularly to observe changing conditions. The lake is re-freezing, and near the Bandshell we have 4” of fresh, clear ice (though the south end of the lake is open water again, ugh).  We need a fully frozen lake with 10″ of good ice at the site of our village to do the public program.

It’s unlikely that it will be cold enough, fast enough, to be on the ice in time for our scheduled January 20th opening. We’ll continue to monitor conditions frequently, and I’ve got a spreadsheet calculating the anticipated ice build based on the extended forecast (a new habit of mine since starting this job in 2019: visiting ice fishing forums for tips, ha!).

We are considering several options for our program, including opening on schedule with Plan Beach or postponing one week to be On-Ice if it seems reasonable (we also have to be pretty confident that it won’t just melt again!)

As we evaluate many factors, we’re keeping our minds open and flexible and we’ll be ready to roll in one direction or another when we have enough information to make a smart and safe decision. We’re concerned about the many ice-related accidents and emergencies in Minnesota already this year, and the safety of our artists, staff, volunteers and visitors is top priority for us.

As you wait (like us) for more information to unfold, please take a look at the VISIT section of our website to start dreaming about your Art Shanty adventure, and  consider making a donation in advance of the program (BIG thanks if you already did!). Community support covers 80% of our costs to put on this shantastic event, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without you!

Stay tuned on what the program will look like this year. We’ll keep you posted and our artists will be ready for ya!


Erin Lavelle (she/her/hers)
Artistic Director
& the entire Art Shanty crew

a person holds a very clear sheet of ice in their hands
a person peeks through a very clear sheet of ice they hold in their bare fingers

Erin inspects 1/2″ of new, clear ice on December 30 just before the snowfall. Photos: Syd from ASP staff