Meetings to plan Art Shanty Projects’ future scheduled

Popular event won’t be held in 2019 due to funding shortfall

A scene from Art Shanty Projects' 2018 on-ice program on Lake Harriet. File photo

One month after announcing the cancellation of its 2019 on-ice program, Art Shanty Projects has scheduled two community meetings to discuss its future.

Separate community input sessions in St. Paul and Minneapolis are planned this month as the organization examines the options for its signature event, the temporary installation of artist-designed ice shanties on a frozen metro-area lake. The organization last winter drew more than 40,000 people to Lake Harriet, a record for attendance, but canceled its return to the lake in January after failing to secure a critical grant.

Art Shanty Projects learned in July it would not receive a Minnesota State Arts Board grant that was expected to cover roughly 70 percent of its annual budget. That led to an $85,000 shortfall.

The budget for the 2018 on-ice program was about $100,000, Jason Buranen, chair of the Art Shanty Projects board of directors said in a September interview. At the time, he added that the budget should be closer to $150,000, an amount that would allow it to raise the stipend paid to participating artists.

Art Shanty Projects does not charge admission to its on-ice program.

First organized on Medicine Lake in Plymouth over the winter of 2004-05, Art Shanty Projects’ on-ice program moved briefly to White Bear Lake before holding its first Minneapolis event on Lake Harriet last year. Half of its audience and more than two-thirds of participating artists live in Minneapolis.

The organization has skipped the on-ice program at least once before, going on hiatus in 2013. Unseasonably warm weather and thin ice also forced adjustments in 2016.

Community meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Minneapolis’ Red Stag Supperclub, 509 1st Ave. NE, and 3 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., St. Paul.

Each meeting will begin with a short presentation by the co-chairs of the Art Shanty Projects board, to be followed by small group discussions.