Art Shanty Projects – 2020 Call for Shanty Artists

This call closed on August 21 and we are no longer accepting submissions.

Seeking Artists

Art Shanty Projects is currently seeking artists of all stripes––musicians, composers, media artists, architects, poets, scientists, dancers, choreographers, writers, builders, fisher-people, outdoors-people, puppeteers, social practice artists, installation artists, vocalists, spoken word artists, craftspeople, storytellers, actors, playwrights–– interested in designing, constructing and staffing a shanty for the 2020 On-Ice Program.

*This call is for shanty artists only; the call for performances and art actions is available through August 28 HERE.

Art Shanty Projects’ 2020 On-Ice Program

Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of art. For four weekends in January and February, the 2020 On-Ice Program will transform a frozen lake in Minnesota into a village of ice fishing shanty-like structures designed and built by artists. Art Shanty Projects’ 2020 On-Ice Program will take place on Bde Unma (Lake Harriet). The project is open to the public with a suggested donation, but no strict admission and anyone can always enter for free. No individual will be turned away due to lack of funds. Hours are from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, January 18 – February 9, 2020. One weekend will be designated ‘Youth & Families’ to cater to younger audiences and their handlers. There will be interpreters for guests with visual and hearing impairments as well as specially designed kick-sleds to assist with mobility on ice every weekend.

Art Shanty Projects is offering stipends of $2400, on-ice support and festival publicity to 18-21 selected shanty artists to create this experience.

Eligibility Requirements

Art Shanty Projects strives to create open artistic interactions between non-artists and artists. There are no application fees or restrictions. Our organization encourages creative people of all types to apply. Proposals should be submitted electronically and will be juried by a panel made up of an Art Shanty Projects representative, local artists, curators, and past participants. Projects that involve selling anything or the exchange of legal currency will not be accepted.

Project Stipends

Art Shanty Projects does its best to support artists fiscally and logistically. Project stipends for the 2020 On-Ice Program are intended to offset the costs for materials to build and move the structure as well as time to staff a shanty while the project is open to the public. The organization does not have additional travel stipends to offer out-of-state artists at this time. 

The current stipend amount for 2020 is $2400 for each shanty project.

Project Timeline

August 5:
Meet & greet, 6-8pm at 2714 27th Street E, Ivy Building for the Arts. This is an opportunity to ask questions of the Board and Artistic Director about the process before submitting your proposal
August 21: Deadline for proposal submissions (midnight CST) 
September: Artists selected; contracts sent
October 2: Meeting for all Shanty Artists and Performers (SAVE THIS DATE in case your proposal is selected; this will be a mandatory meeting)
November: Artist meetings and site visits, final artist statements due
December: Artist meetings and site visits, festival logistics and details
January 11:
Installation of shanties on the ice at Bde Unma (Lake Harriet)
January 18-February 9: 2020 On-Ice Program, every Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
February 16: All shanties need to be off the ice*. 

*Depending on weather conditions artists may be requested to move Shanties off the ice at an earlier date.

Design Requirements

Artists should take the following requirements into consideration when designing or developing an idea to submit a successful proposal:

1. Environment

  • The design of the shanty should take the environment and weather conditions into consideration as these are the main obstacles on ice.
  • Generators are not allowed at any time. If the project requires power, there are many options using solar power, deep cycle batteries, and renewable methods for charging.
  • We welcome projects that include sound, and will work to place chosen projects in appropriate places, but ask that artists respect neighboring projects.
  • We have a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy, only footsteps should be left behind.

2. Structure

  • The lake is very windy, which places incredible strain and wear on structures. Shanties must be built soundly out of durable materials. Although there are virtually no building codes on the lake, any loose parts that come off the shanty will be covered by snow and frozen, rendering it litter. Please consider both materials and methods when proposing a structure.

3. Safety

  • Reflective material must be placed on all sides of the shanty for nighttime safety.
  • No wood stoves are allowed as a heating source–you must rely on passive solar or a ‘Little Buddy’ propane heater, or similar that is UL or CE rated.
  • Cars are not allowed to drive out onto Bde Unma. ATVs may be used to transport a shanty onto the ice. Art Shanty Projects will have an approved vehicle to pull shanties between shore and ice during specified load-in/out times. Outside of those times, you are responsible for on-ice transport.

4. Mobility

  • The shanty must be easily movable to avoid freezing to the ice or, in case of inclement weather where the ice becomes unstable, removed on short notice. Your shanty must be designed with ‘skis,’ so that it doesn’t sink into the ice, and so it’s quick to move. 
  • Elaborate set-up is not recommended. Igloos or other structures that rest directly on the ice are not allowed. If you are selected as an artist we will provide consultation for best practices of designing a movable shanty.

5. Community

  • The On-Ice Program is intended to attract visitors of all ages and abilities. The structures should be attractive, exciting and/or interesting to visitors; enough to draw them 1,000 feet out onto a frozen lake surface in order to interact. Please consider community inclusion in the proposal and be sure structures and activities are appropriate for the audience.

Tips for a Strong Proposal:

  1. Consider working in teams, there are many physical and logistical challenges that are much easier when working with others. We recommend teams of 4 or more.
  2. Think realistically about staffing open hours for the shanty. Being out in the cold and interacting with the public can be tiring.  We recommend having 2 or more shifts per day. The project lasts four weekends. Shanties are required to be open during public hours from 10am-4pm.
  3. The lake sees intense winds; design your structure/programming to minimize the chance of materials falling off and being frozen into the ice.
  4. Collaboration is the name of the game with the Art Shanty Projects. Please be realistic and clear with your team about who is doing what.

Selection Criteria

All proposals will be reviewed by a panel of professional artists, curators, arts administrators and a representative from the Art Shanty Projects Board of Directors based on the following criteria:

  • Quality: An exciting idea with adherence to Art Shanty Projects mission / artistic goals and a sound plan for audience interaction. 
  • Design and Feasibility: Clear understanding of design / building requirements and evidence of capacity to successfully build and staff the project.

Link to the Evaluation Rubric given to the panel

Proposal Requirements

If you have questions about this application please contact Erin Lavelle, Artistic Director:

Part I: Narrative (Limit 4000 characters)

Tell us about the shanty you would like to create. What is it called? What interaction or activities will take place inside or around it? What will a visitor to the shanty see, hear, do, feel or learn? 

Tell us about your shanty!

Part II: Artistic Goals (Limit 2000 characters)


Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand the notions of what art can be.

Artistic Goals:

  • Projects should push artists skills and development and engage an audience. 
  • Projects should respect the environment of the lake, as well as respect the community that already exists, with the understanding that the lake has an established relationship with non-artist patrons. 
  • Projects should be engaging to audiences of all kinds—audience engagement is essential to the success of the experience, for both artist and audience. 

Questions to consider:

  • How does the project expand notions of what art can be?How does the project use the unique environment?
  • How does the project use the unique environment?
  • What is the plan for audience interaction inside or around the shanty?
  • ASP has a commitment to being inclusive when selecting artists and serving audiences. Please share with us how your artist team and/or project embodies or addresses this. Considerations include providing a diverse artistic perspective and/or being welcoming and safe to diverse populations from the Twin Cities and beyond (being mindful of intersections of race, class, gender, age, etc.) and addressing potential barriers for participation (language, mobility, hearing, sight or otherwise). 
  • Does the project address how different audiences will interact with this project? 

Share how your project will fit within the mission and artistic goals of Art Shanty Projects.

Part III: Feasibility (Limit 2000 characters)

Address your ability to build and capacity to staff the project from 10am-4pm each weekend during the festival in January and February, 2020. We had a record number of people during our last on-ice program in Minneapolis in 2018. With the potential of thousands of visitors per day, how will the interactive aspect of your shanty accommodate the potential flow of traffic and handle crowds? Think about ways you can engage the audience both outside and inside the shanty. Has the project given thought to its potential challenges, risks or failures?

Please articulate your ability to build and staff your project.


Please think about what it might take to create your project and list potential costs per category. It’s OK if this budget changes later; this is just an estimate. Consider in-kind goods or services when making your budget (i.e. what are you getting for free?!). We recommend reserving a small portion of your money for ‘contingency’ (i.e. unexpected expenses that may come up). Your total budget should add up to $2400, the stipend Art Shanty Projects is offering, unless you have funding from another source.

Consider the following categories when creating your budget draft:

  • Materials  (building materials, costumes, props, etc)
  • Equipment (anything you need to rent or purchase)
  • Transportation  (rental trucks, gas, etc)
  • Stipends (for artists or collaborators)
  • Space Rental (if you are renting a space in which to build your project)
  • Other (please define)
  • Contingency (money held for unexpected expenses)

Supporting Materials

Upload relevant supporting materials (up to 5 renderings of proposed shanty or activities and/or past work samples that are related to this proposal). Include anything that will help the jury understand your concept. (up to five samples — photos, illustrations, video, audio, etc.). Please keep images under 2MB and audio/video clips 45 seconds or less. List title, date,  medium and description for each sample provided.