Art on ice

An ice shanty created by teens at Leonardo's Basement. Photo by Michelle Bruch

ThArt Shanty 1e shanty town is up and running on Lake Unma (Lake Harriet) through Feb. 11. Thousands of visitors are finding their sea legs inside a swaying ship, playing Twister, viewing five-minute plays, and powering swings that move sculpture. There are tiny art car parades, monarch butterfly bicycles and dance parties. A Sound Shanty mixes audio with a feed from two hydrophones under the ice. Attendees can try a human-sized hamster wheel, take a “snowga” class or solve “Cold Case” puzzles hidden throughout the shanty village.

“Let’s keep people outside and get them interacting,” said Derek Ahlberg, one of the creators of the “Thwing.”

Previously based on White Bear Lake, Art Shanty Projects expects to draw 25,000 visitors to its new location this year.

The following provides a glimpse at a few of the 2018 shanties.

Art Shanty 2

10,000 Lakes Twister

By Jared Haberer and Evan Hall

10,000 Lakes Twister 1

Architects Jared Haberer and Evan Hall spent a single weekend creating the 10,000 Lakes Twister. They assembled the structure on the ice.

Windows punched on all sides of the shanty represent Minnesota lakes from across the state. Participants play Twister inside, placing hands and feet on lake-shaped primary colors. Lake Superior’s outline serves as a skylight. Haberer said they were inspired by James Turrell’s “Sky Pesher” piece embedded in a hill at the Walker Art Center, which blurs the line between ceiling and sky.

10,000 Lakes Twister 2

The Lonely Whale Shanty

By Giuliana Pinto

Lonely Whale

Artist Giuliana Pinto created the shanty based on scientists’ discovery of a whale song recorded in the Pacific Ocean at 52 hertz — a frequency higher than any other whale song, believed to be unheard by other whales.


By Derek Ahlberg, Jeff Berg and Paul Owen

Thwing 2

Thwing 1

It’s a combination “thing” and “swing,” and the swings power a kinetic sculpture. A graphic designer and two photographers brought seesaws to the Art Shanty ice in 2014, and their designs have continued to evolve since then.

“This is kind of our outlet,” said Derek Ahlberg.

Thwing 3

Fyr Minnesåta

Teens at Leonardo’s Basement created a half-submerged lighthouse, where birds circle the structure and people can climb to the top.

Fyr Minnesata 2

Fyr Minnesata 3

Cinema Shanty and Ice Box Studios

By Vanessa Miles and Jeff Sherman

Cinema shanty

A six-foot diameter zoetrope shows a changing series of animations. Participants can create animations in the Soundstage 18 shanty next door.

Why Not Knit!

By Qian Liu and Jane Powers

Why not knit

A place to knit, crochet, braid or add a verse to the poem: “Why Not Knit!”

Rocky Sea Shanty

By Alan Engler, Beth Kalin, Stacey Kelly and David Smith

Rocky Sea Shanty 1

The Twin Cities Sailing Club and Lake Harriet Yacht Club created a rocking boat to give people a seafaring experience.

“It really does give you a feeling of stepping onto a boat,” said member Jamie Fraser. “We miss having water here.”

The Tomb of the Unknown Minnow

By Nicholas Maurstad, Angela Maki North and Mike Taus

Tomb of the unknown minnow

A mausoleum honors nature’s seemingly insignificant sacrifices for peoples’ food and comfort — including minnows used as fishing bait.

Atlachinolli (Fire and Water)

By Electric Machete Studios artists Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, Tania Galaviz de Espinoza, Reynaldo Lara, Xilam Balam

Atlachinolli 1

Electric Machete Studios created a sculptural performance space to represent an indigenous concept from central Mexico. Atlachinolli refers to the urgent battle against extreme weather changes and the protection of freshwaters like Bde Unma (Lake Harriet).

The event runs every Saturday and Sunday, no matter the weather, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Feb. 11.