Art Shanties at Lake Harriet – Minneapolis, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

Art Shanties at Lake Harriet

Direct, creative challenge to Mother Nature's winter wrath. 


Every time winter rolls around in Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of people are left with only two options: hibernate for the season, or get on with living. Art Shanty Projects was born out of the latter mentality as a new take on the local sport of ice fishing, in which dedicated outdoorsmen and women trudge out into the cold, go sit on frozen lake in a little shack, drink beer, and stare at a hole in the ice… for hours.

The shanties built by artists, architects, makers and the like, are positioned on a frozen lake. Art Shanty Projects have playfully skewered ice fishing for over ten years every year in January-February.

A rotating cadre of artists and their creations unite friends and families in outdoor whimsy during winter’s doldrums, with shanties offering a post office, karaoke, a landed spaceship, radio station, and a human carwash.

Notes for visitors: You never know what you’ll encounter in the Art Shanties, so come prepared. Wear shoes (and Yaktraks) and clothing appropriate for walking across a frozen (therefore icy), windswept environment for hours at a time!

Know Before You Go

The Art Shanty team is currently on hiatus for 2019. Check in with the local art scene before planning your visit. Dressing for cold weather and snow is strongly encouraged: boots, snow pants, coat, hats, mittens, scarf, etc. to ensure your experience on ice is enjoyable.