Explore Lake Harriet’s enchanting ice shanties

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courtesy of Art Shanty Projects

If you’ve driven by Lake Harriet recently, you may have done a double take after spotting the curiously unusual clump of ice houses popping up on its frozen surface. Well, you’re definitely going to want to stop and take a look at these unique structures next time you pass, as they are no ordinary ice houses.

This year, Lake Harriet is playing host to the Art Ice Shanty Village: Artists come together on the frozen surface to embrace the quintessential Minnesotan past time of building ice houses, but with an artful twist. As the lake doesn’t have any building codes or restrictions, a rare opportunity and freedom is given to both anglers and artists alike for personal expression as they construct distinctive ice houses that reflect their personalities and personal style. Just as anglers might build either a minimalist structure or an elaborate ice house with all the comforts of home, these artists ran with this notion creating ice shanties as unique as the artists themselves. However, the peculiar architecture, bold colors, and odd structures are just part of the intrigue and fun as the frozen lake also acts as a platform for endless art adventures.

As you walk into these imaginative ice shanties, you’ll find a variety of activities and exhibitions ranging from knitting and games to live dance performances and science experiments. Featuring 22 shanties showcasing over 80 artists, you’ll be sure to find one that piques your interest: You might be intrigued by ‘The Thwing’ shanty where you’ll be able to swing from four giant swings, creating a kinetic energy that brings the mystery of the Thwing to life. What mystery you ask? You’ll just have to go and experience for yourself. Or you can visit the ‘BINGO!’ shanty, overseen by various performers and artists who will put their own spin on bingo ensuring you’ll experience the game quite like you never have before.

courtesy of Art Shanty Projects
courtesy of Art Shanty Projects

The art ice shanties will also bring back past year’s favorites including the human hamster wheel, where you can finally fulfill your lifelong dream of experiencing what it’s like to be a hamster. You can also participate in ‘Snowga’, a 30 minute yoga class on the snowy lake in a snowsuit, or enjoy ‘Energetic Tea Time’ with a warm cup of tea poured into a wooden kuksa (nomadic drinking vessel) while you take a meditative walk around the Shanty Village with a friend or stranger.

The Art Ice Shanty Village is a great excuse to venture outside and not only enjoy the magic of our winter months, but also experience the creative imagination of Minnesota’s wonderful artist community. This exhibition always draws thousands of visitors each year, and they are expecting an even greater influx with the Super Bowl just around the corner.

courtesy of Art Shanty Projects

The event is completely free, and runs from January 20th through February 11th on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am to 4pm. Visit the Art Ice Shanty Village website to learn more details about the schedule of events, performances, and different shanties you can explore.