The Art Shanty Project’s Plan Beach

Welcome to the extreme sport of artmaking.


For nearly 20 years, one of the signs of citizens persevering through Minnesota’s winter are the silhouettes of the Art Shanty Projects appearing on a frozen lake. Inspired by pop-up ice fishing villages, this annual festival serves as a platform for artists to create a community that welcomes and encourages participation from visitors.

This year, however, the snowstorms that pummeled us and left us with a winter wonderland also  created a layer of insulation over the ice, melting it to a point where it’s no longer safe for crowds to gather.

Enter Plan Beach.

The Shanty Village was moved to the beach and surrounding areas. Although there was understandably some disappointment to miss the opportunity to present art on a frozen lake, the artists took the change in stride and are enjoying this new experience, says Erin Lavelle, artistic director for the Art Shanty Project.

“There’s some novelty to it,” she says. “Suddenly we have sledding hills in the Shanty Village, and we have people who are walking through the park who are not there for our festival, who just happened upon it.”

Despite the change of venue, the purpose of the Art Shanty Projects has stayed the same.

“We’ve always been about community and building community among artists,” Lavelle says, adding that as it grew, the public was welcomed not just as visitors, but as collaborators.

“As a visitor, you don’t show up and just look at it like you would in say, a museum or a gallery or sculpture park—you actually are part of the art making in some fashion,” she says. “You’re invited to dance, or sing, or help manipulate something in the project itself.”


Art Shanty Projects

4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Mpls.

Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 12

10 AM-4 PM

Shanties and performances not to miss:

Booom Box

Shaped like a giant ’80s–style boombox—you can’t miss it—features a rotating schedule of local live bands and DJs like Klezmer on Ice and Art of Expression.

Techno From The Sun

This solar-powered shanty lets visitors manipulate light and sensors that are connected to a DJ booth with a modular synthesizer, effectively creating a collaboration between visitor and DJ.

Fashion Disasters

The members of this roving performance group each personify a different climate disaster with visually stunning costumes. Follow along for performances, walks, dances, and more, all dedicated to climate action.