Student Work Heats Up Art Shanty Projects On-Ice Program

The Welcome Shanty being installed on Lake Harriet.

Since 2005, Art Shanty Projects has transformed frozen lakes into vibrant, artist-driven communities.

This year not only will Art Shanty Projects take place on Lake Harriet for the first time, it will also feature a new Welcome Shanty designed and constructed entirely by School of Architecture students in the Welcome Shanty Design + Build workshop, taught by adjunct architecture faculty Adam Jarvi and Sam Clausen, with assistance from Sean Wagner.

“The seed of the collaboration began almost a year ago when we started brainstorming how Art Shanty Projects could work with the University to create a design/build curriculum. The Welcome Shanty is the culmination of a very thoughtful design process where students, instructors, and Art Shanty Projects’ advisory team worked closely in the spirit of creative collaboration,” explained Marlaine Cox, operations director for Art Shanty Projects.

For many students, the Welcome Shanty Design + Build class was a new learning experience. “We needed to do a lot more work in a shorter amount of time than in other courses. Doing group work with so many people was also a new dynamic,” explained Alden Jaakola (Architecture).

Students constructing the Welcome Shanty in Rapson Hall.

Students constructing the Welcome Shanty in Rapson Hall.

At the beginning of the semester, students in the class were separated into groups to ideate what the new shanty should look like. The different groups researched temporary buildings, event kiosks, and artist creations from the last three years of the On-Ice Program. “No student on my team had any prior experience, or knowledge really, of Art Shanty Projects. We had to start with uncovering who they are, what they’re about, and what aspects we could use as the foundational elements to help develop our designs,” said Lali Shupare (Architecture).

After getting feedback from Art Shanty collaborators, the instructors and students shaped a final design that included different components from each group. “Once our client chose the elements of each and helped us understand how they wanted the project to proceed, we remixed one of the designs for the final build, and all of us worked together to design and build the individual elements,” said Jaakola.

The hands-on nature of the design/build process provided a lot of new learning opportunities for the students. “Having this type of experience, working on a design dilemma and being a part of it “coming to life” has helped me better understand my strengths. I have a sense of what I need to pursue to become a better designer and I’ve gained an understanding of what aspects of the design field I’m most interested in,” said Shupare.

The Welcome Shanty waiting to be transported to Lake Harriet.

The Welcome Shanty waiting to be transported to Lake Harriet.

Now completed, the new Welcome Shanty will serve as an information hub, gathering space, and warming hut where visitors can learn more about Art Shanty Projects, become members, buy merchandise, and celebrate winter in Minnesota by taking part in activities on the frozen lake. “The Welcome Shanty will be the heart of our On-Ice Program on Lake Harriet; a bright, beautiful space to greet visitors as they enter shanty village,” concluded Cox.  

The 2018 Art Shanty Projects On-Ice Program opens this weekend on Saturday, January 20, and will remain open every Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm through February 11.

Read More:
The GrowlerThe Art Shanties have a new home on Lake Harriet.

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