Art Shanty kickoff set for Jan. 6

The nonprofit Art Shanty Projects will hold its annual kickoff event from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Soo Visual Arts Center.

The organization will celebrate past shanty seasons during the one-night exhibition, which is free and open to the public. Art Shanty Projects’ board of directors will host the event, with support from SooVAC, Bartmann Restaurants and Lake Monster Brewing.

“It’s just a really wonderful way to build momentum and get people to meet each other again,” said Marlaine Cox, the organization’s operations director.

Art Shanty Projects is known for its On-Ice Program, an annual event in which artists build shanties, or shacks, that are placed on a frozen lake. The artists create participatory activities in and around their shanties, which in the past have ranged from yoga to curling.

“It sort of blurs the line between who is the audience member and who is the artist,” Cox said. “It’s a very simple way of getting people together and experiencing art in a new way.”

This winter’s On-Ice Program is set to start Jan. 20 on Lake Harriet. It’s the first time the Southwest Minneapolis lake is hosting the event.

Shanties for the program include one called “10,000 Lakes Twister,” in which the board features Minnesota lakes instead of the classic dots. In the “The Notary Shanty” (also called “The Cold Hard Truth Shanty”), visitors can bring in forms to have notarized or fill out forms around topics such as their New Year’s resolutions.

Students from Southwest High School also created a shanty, known as the “Revolutionary Shanty.” Visitors will be able to write their own revolutionary poems and walk through the “Minnesota Revolutionary Hall of Fame.”

Cox said this year’s program is on a bus line for the first time, noting that Metro Transit is giving out free bus passes for the first weekend (a link will be posted on Art Shanty Projects’ website).

The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council is the presenting sponsor. More than two dozen other local businesses and agencies are also providing sponsorship.

“We’ve got a real groundswell of support from the community,” Cox said.

Shanty artist Jeremy Bue will curate the kickoff event, along with Jan Elftmann and David Pitman. The event will also a silent auction to help support the organization.

Artists are scheduled to begin loading their shanties onto Lake Harriet on Jan. 13. The shanties will be located just south of the Lake Harriet Band Shell, Cox said. They would be located on the land near the band shell in the event the ice isn’t safe.

The On-Ice Program will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 20-Feb. 11. Visit to learn more.