Above: Atlachinolli (Fire & Water) is a sculptural performance space with a see through art shanty led by Latinx Indigenous art & music collective Electric Machete Studios. For more images, click here.

There’s nothing ice-y about receiving a warm chunk of change.

Art Shanty Projects announced today that they had received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The money will be used to cover 2018 on-ice program costs that were accrued during the most recent fiscal year. 

“Most of it is going to go toward making artists’ lives easier and paying them a fare wage, making sure the ice is accessible as much as we can, and just making up a hole in the budget that we had in the past year,” said Artistic Director Lacey Prpic Hedtke.

That gap in the budget was caused by the end of a $100,000 grant from ArtPlace. It had been split between two years, and eventually ran out in 2017. As a result, Art Shanty Projects was trying to raise money in other ways, including embarking on a new membership program. They do not charge an admission fee for the event; it is important for the event to remain free, especialy because it is on an unregulated public space and no one is selling anything. 

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu in a press statement. "These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to Art Shanty Projects, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” 

This grant came as part of the NEA's first major funding announcement for FY 2018, with more than $25 million in grants already approved. President Trump has also just announced for the second year in a row that his proposed 2019 budget aims to completely elimimate the NEA and NEH.

Art Shanty Projects just wrapped its very busy 2018 season, which took place on Lake Harriet (Bde Unma) in Minneapolis over the course of four very cold weekends, from January 20-February 11. This year they were hit with a record-breaking 40,000 visitors stopping by to experience the 21 art shanties (22 if you count the welcome shanty). Last year, Art Shanty Projects was hosted on White Bear Lake, and turnout was significantly less. 

Going strong since 2005, Art Shanty Projects is a winter outdoor art event unique to Minnesota, land of long winters. For the project, artists apply to create art installations inside tiny houses, technically categorized as “dark houses,” which are what Minnesotans apply for when they get a permit for an icehouse. The projects this year ranged from absurdist to educational: A constant funeral for an unknown minnow took place in the art shanty Tomb of the Unknown Minnow by artists Nicholas Maurstad, Angela Maki North and Mike Taus, while Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty offered fun, participatory activities and educational information about the life cycle of this mighty insect.

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