Art Shanty Projects coming to Lake Harriet in 2018

The organization previously held its on-ice program on Medicine and White Bear lakes

An art shanty on White Bear Lake in 2016. Photo courtesy Art Shanty Projects

After four years on White Bear Lake, Art Shanty Projects announced Friday it plans to bring its annual arts festival on ice to Lake Harriet next January.

“Seventy percent of our artists and 60 percent of our audience members come from Minneapolis, and we’ve been looking for ways to expand our artist reach,” said Executive Director Dawn Bentley.

First held in 2007 on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, Art Shanty Projects invites area artists to design and build ice shanties, creating a temporary city on ice filled with interactive art experiences. About 8,470 people visited the organization’s 2017 on-ice program at White Bear Lake, which ran Feb. 4–26 and included 20 shanties and 14 performances.

“Climate change is definitely an issue for us, so we ended up being two weeks on the lake and two weeks on the shore,” Bentley said.

Organizers will be hoping for colder weather next year — and larger crowds, given the urban lake’s accessibility by car, transit and non-motorized transportation. Scheduled to begin in mid-January and run over multiple weekends, Art Shanty Projects’ 2018 on-ice program will coincide with the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival and an influx of visitors for Super Bowl LII.

Bentley said they expect to potentially double attendance next year. The festival’s biggest weekend on White Bear Lake last month drew 2,000 people.

She said Art Shanty Projects brought its program to White Bear Lake at the city’s invitation and was obligated to stay through at least 2017 because of the terms of an ArtPlace grant. This upcoming move is also by invitation; Bentley said members of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council approached the organization about a year ago.

Bentley consulted with city and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and received “a whole lot of support for a move.”

For more information on Art Shanty Projects, go to

Photo courtesy Art Shanty Projects
Photo courtesy Art Shanty Projects