I don't have a license, and medicine lake is a long way from where I live. So I called up my Mom and we had a Valentines Day adventure.
I would have to say that the Art Shanties are just about the cutest, most adorable thing ever dreamed up. I was surprised by how many shanties were out on the lake, and then the "real" ice houses too! I wonder what the fisher-people thought about the art shanties. If there was animosity, friendship, or just some kind of mutual respect.
The installation was pretty poetic, compartmentalized vignettes– each with a distinct and succinct story. The interactive ones were the best– actually, they might have all been interactive. Inviting people to send letters, play board games, generate electricity, confess, and make books together. These simple activities were really great ice breakers (ha ha ha!). It was thrilling to see art function as a way to bring people together in a friendly and social way. Especially since the fine arts can be really alienating and intimidating things sometimes. The symphony is long, the ballet is boring, modern art is confusing– experiencing art can often feel passive. The art shanties made art an active experience– they were also short and to the point. They were easy to understand, which I think is a great way to introduce people who may be unfamiliar with the experience of going to a gallery or a theatre to start experiencing art. I think what I'm trying to say is that the shanties were effective because they weren't trying to be a high brow experience– but they certainly weren't crude like television or popular music (commodified and mass marketed).
I really enjoyed the book, confession, and snapshot shanties the most. Primarily because I would be documented in some way– probably on a blog. I think that is really neat, that something so local will be accessible around the world. The snapshot shanty was also very warm, which was a huge plus on a chilly day (the shanty with coffee was also a favorite– hot drinks for cold hands). I was really glad that most of the shanties were heated, by either wood or propane. I was definitely worried riding out to the lake that I would be very, very cold. The wood stoves smelled the nicest. I confessed that I secretly like going to ballet class, even though I always complain about it. I complain about it a lot.
We brought our dogs, so did lots of other people. There was one dog, Belle, who was beautiful. Her coat was different colors from different angles, it was really cool. Most of the shanties had treats for dogs.
Next year, I think, I am going to be a part of a shanty team.