Meet 3 new shanties coming to White Bear Lake for the Art Shanty Projects


The Art Shanty Projects go live this weekend, and the weather couldn’t be more perfect for the occasion. So bundle up, and be prepared for some artsy fun.

First timer Jeremy Bue, an artist who also works at the Third Bird restaurant, is bringing the Chef Shanty to the lake, combining art and food for a variety of fun and educational activities. Bue is planning on hosting a number of special guests, including chefs and cooking enthusiasts, throughout the month. 

“We’ll have some really great tastings and demonstrations,” he says. This will include mini classes and lots of interactive play. The lineup also offers popsicle and herbal candle making demos. He’ll also have tasty treats throughout the weekends from various restaurants that have helped sponsor the shanty.

“I love making environments and experiences,” Bue says. While he designed his shanty, engineer and theater friends, including the folks from Nimbus, helped him put it all together. 

Erin Lavelle, one of the artists working on the Slumber Party Shanty, continues her collaborative relationship with Tony Chapin to create a giant, four-poster canopy bed with a monster underneath. The idea for the Slumber Party Shanty is “inter-generational, non-digital play,” Lavelle says. Entering underneath the bed, participants encounter a giant monster, who will be playing games with guests. After meeting the creature, folks can head upstairs to the top of the bed, where there will be art activities and card games to play in a comfy, cushion-y environment.

Since neither Chapin nor Lavelle had construction experience, they brought in a professional architect, a student architect, and a carpenter to help. In total, they put together a 10-member team (including artists and performers) to make the shanty happen. The team built their shanty at the Bedlam Community Design Space in the Ivy Arts Building, where two other shanty groups were also working. There, they met Yadin Dickstein and Sophie Vranian of the Shanti Shanty, who have created a yurt-like structure for the project. 

Inside the Slumber Party Shanty

Inside the Slumber Party Shanty

Dickstein and Vranian first visited the Art Shanty Projects in 2014, but they knew they wanted to put one together even before that. “Sophie sent me a link on Facebook, and I thought, 'This is the coolest thing!'” Dickstein says.

The couple have drawn on design motifs derived from Eastern cultures. “I have a weird affinity for sacred geometry,” says Dickstein, who studied architecture in school and is interested in digital fabrication as well.

“I wanted to build something on wheels,” Vranian says. The structure they’ve created gets its inspiration from a Tibetan prayer wheel, that she says creates a “calming, meditative, walking gesture.”

“I really liked the challenge of building something like that in that environment,” says Vranian. She loved seeing all of the different shanty structures on the ice in the middle of winter, and having to use the environment to make it fun and beautiful. “It could be terrible weather or great weather. That was cool to me to see what people were able to build.” 

Dickstein says he hopes that people will appreciate the beauty of the object, but also its connection to spiritual practices.

While there will be new shanties to explore, some old favorites are returning as well. There's the Dance Shanty, whose theme this year, “forever young,” will bring in music from all eras. Meanwhile the Pedal Bear (Matoska Tonka Pedal Bear is its full name), a 20-foot long, 12-foot high pedal-driven puppet and its eight-foot long, five-foot tall bear cub, will take participants on a Dakota language word hunt. Also be on the lookout for the AstroLounge Shanty, which promises intergalactic star-gazing; the Aurora Shanty, with an interactive light show; and the Botanical ShanTea, a permaculture-inspired tea garden.

There will also be plenty of performances happening throughout the month, with visits planned from dance groups like BodyCartography Project and Danza Española, singing groups like the Prairie Fire Lady Choir, puppeteers, and clowns.


The Art Shanty Projects

Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Through February 28

White Bear Lake County Park (approximately 1,500 feet offshore on the ice)

Access is by the boat ramp in the southeast corner of the parking area.

Don’t forget to dress warm!