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Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be. Our organization values artists, art in all communities, and the importance of interaction between the two. Through an array of artists receiving fair wages for their work, we broaden perceptions of art while maintaining respect for the environment and communities in which we work.
The origins of Art Shanty Projects comes from the inspiration provided by unique ice fishing houses and diverse communities that come together on Minnesota's frozen lakes each winter. Founders saw the potential to create an artists' happening in an extreme environment; to embrace and reinvent a beloved cultural practice; and to encourage personal expression and community engagement through temporary structures and performances. The vision culminated in artists gathering to produce diverse, multi-disciplinary shanties and integrated programming on Medicine Lake. Flattering media profiles and a fiscal sponsorship has aided in organizational evolution to its current beloved standing.
From its humble beginnings, Art Shanty Projects flagship program has been the annual home to ~25 structures and interactive exhibits for over ~100 artists. Attendance has risen from approximately 5,000 in 2007 to a record-breaking 19,000 in 2012. After a brief hiatus, the program moved from Hennepin to Ramsey County by invitation from the City of White Bear Lake with hopes of reaching new audiences and artist collaborators.