Art Shanty Projects announces anonymous gift

Cancelled in 2019, the gift could return its on-ice program to Lake Harriet in 2020 and 2021

Art Shanty Projects had been held on Medicine Lake and White Bear Lake before moving to Minneapolis' Lake Harriet in 2018. File photo

Art Shanty Projects’ on-ice program could return to Lake Harriet in 2020 and 2021 thanks to the gift of an anonymous donor.

The gift was a total surprise to organizers of the annual display of artist-designed ice shanties. It is expected to cover more than half the cost of on-ice events in 2020 and 2021, the organization announced in a press release, and is intended to get the festival back on track after a significant budget shortfall was announced this fall.

The board of directors for Art Shanty Projects decided to cancel the 2019 on-ice display after learning the organization would not receive a critical Minnesota State Arts Board Grant.

At the time, board Chair Jason Buranen estimated that single grant covered “about 70-ish percent of the budget.” The budget for the 2018 on-ice program was about $100,000, Buranen said.

In announcing the anonymous gift, Art Shanty Projects leaders stated their intent to “move toward becoming a self-sustaining organization” over the next two years.

An estimated 40,000 people visited Art Shanty Projects’ Lake Harriet display in 2018, its first year in the city after previously being held on White Bear Lake and Medicine Lake. Organizers have never charged admission to the on-ice program and also pay a small stipend to the participating artists responsible for designing and building the shanties.

News of the gift came after Art Shanty Projects announced a Jan. 26 fundraiser. It will coincide with the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival scheduled to run noon–4 p.m. on Lake Harriet.

Plans for the fundraiser include art and performances on the ice at the same time as the kite festival. An after-party inside a heated tent runs 4 p.m.–7 p.m. and will include games, a raffle, performances and refreshments.

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