If you’re like many longtime Plymouthites who pass by Medicine Lake in February, it’s likely you’ve asked yourself at least once, “What are those funky-looking ice houses doing out on the lake?” For years, The Art Shanty Projects (ASP) have brightened our winter doldrums with creative juried designs from a slew of regional artists. Then somewhat abruptly last year, the ice remained bare. February came and went with much wintry weather but only a spattering of the usual ice fishing enthusiasts on the lake.
This absence was intentional. The ASP artistic team is transitioning the event into a two-year cycle, which means those arty projects are back this year and the programming will expand beyond the western suburbs. With this retooling comes the opportunity to broaden horizons, reaching new audiences and artisans; but the catch for us here in Plymouth is that there’s a good chance the biennial event will take place at another Twin Cities lake in 2014. In preparation of this, after this year’s biennial project in Plymouth, co-founder Peter Haakon Thompson—who returns to a leadership role—says the team begins what it’s calling a “disperse year,” in which a decentralized project will expand to surplus spaces, showcasing temporary art projects. “The goal is to re-imagine how to use surplus or public space, bringing art and artists to places they are not normally found,” he says.
The ultimate goal, of course, remains to create an “art shanty movement that can be found on a neighborhood level,” brining artists together with non-artists, not only here in Plymouth and the greater Twin Cities area, but throughout the state and even the nation, both on lakes and off.
January 14–February 5 Venture over to Medicine Lake for the Art Shanty Project, where artists have transformed dull ice fishing houses into one-of-a-kind interactive exhibits. You can either walk out to the exhibit on the frozen lake or catch a ride from a decorated ArtCar Taxi. Free. Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m.–5p.m. East Medicine Lake Park, 1740 E. Medicine Lake Blvd.