Every summer, thousands of die hard hippies, artists and civilians alike gather in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and camp out for a week long festival called Burning Man, which combines art, drugs, partying, and bartering in place of a strict “no money” rule. But now, Nevada has a new contender.
There’s a new Burning Man-esque festival taking the mid west by storm. Minnesota is well known as the land of 10,000 lakes. In winter months, it’s typical to see a few shanties set up on lakes where men hunker down and ice fish. However, on Medicine Lake in January it’s not unusual to see upwards of twenty of these makeshift shanties sitting atop the ice. And inside there’s more than a cold man, a fishing pole, and heaters. Now, these ices shanties have been transformed into art galleries and dance clubs.
The festival is called Art Shanty Projects, and although it’s only 15 degrees out, that hasn’t stopped almost 10,000 people from traveling near and far to experience this unusual style of art walk. The festival has been an annual tradition since 2004 and was co-founded by Peter Thompson, who wanted to stretch people’s conceptions about art galleries beyond their traditional and sometimes stifling settings. Participating artists seem to enjoy the relationships between audience members and themselves as the boundaries have been changed in such a way that conversations between people seems to freely flow. Much like Burning Man, the spirit is free and meant to be welcoming to all.
Although the festival is wrapping up this weekend, I would recommend getting an early jump on the activities next year.