Motivated by my resolution to fight winter hibernation, I took advantage of the relatively warm weather and went to experience the Art Shanties on Medicine Lake. I say ‘relatively warm’ because the last week the temperature did not get above zero! Today was 20 and snowy, which seemed like lovely weather to see the Shanties.For me, the Art Shanty Project is utterly Minnesotan. About as Minnesotan as it was for me to spend the first paragraph of this post taking about the weather. It takes a certain test of character to spend months building a structure made to withstand this harsh climate and then spending a month on a frozen lake occupying said structure. Its mostly just on weekends, but it is still a tremendous amount of time and energy. Impressive.
Like a lot of large group projects, the Art Shanties can be hit or miss. Many shanties seem well thought out in their construction, but are difficult to approach or interact with. Technical problems with heat and electricity also caused several shanties to be closed, which was a real shame. It is fascinating to watch the project evolve every year, and slowly more popular.
This year saw the return of some of the best of years past, including the Snap Shot Shanty and the Art Post Shanty. But there were many new shanties as well! One of my favorites was the Ice Boat.
It’s 30+ foot blue sail was amazing! While it did not do much soaring across the ice when I was there, we certainly had fun trying to get it up to speed. The Sweat & Drink Inc Shanty was another wonderful addition to be found this year. The best projects address the surrounding environment in a way that is interesting and inviting.