The shanty exhibit was a lot of fun to explore since the range of art taking place was so vast. The outside structures were interesting in themselves however, once you went in to each shanty there would be even more creative attractions inside. The people viewing the shanties also provided entertainment by participating in various activities. The result was a fascinating sensory overload that was like one huge, remarkable piece of artwork.
The outside of the shanties varied from basic to extravagant. Some artists spent a lot of time designing the outside of their shanty into structures such as an emerging submarine and multiple dice. One particular shanty resembled a small church. I thought this one had the best look from the outside – and they went a step further by decorating the walls with confessions written down by visitors on the outside. It was a clever idea and very popular, many people were reading the confessions. Others focused on using imaginative items to build their shanty, such as huge cardboard rolls or old electrical appliances. It was amazing to see so many diverse ideas, each enjoyable in their own way.
Inside the shanties various projects would be held, such as theatre performances, karaoke, and knitting. There were also shanties that featured things such as a post office, radio station, and photo booth. My favorite of all the shanties showed how to make paper origami. I enjoyed this one the most, because I thought they did the best job of exhibiting both a creatively built shanty and a charming activity, which was related to their overall theme. The shanty itself was built out of large paper rolls, positioned into a sort of triangle - almost like a teepee. The outside was covered in some sort of thick paper and on the inside there were layers upon layers of cardboard, most likely for installation. When you walked inside there was light pouring in from a window toward the top of the shanty and if you looked up you could see many colorful origami hanging from the ceiling. Although I enjoyed looking at all the shanties, this one particularly struck me as a creative work of art.
The shanty exhibit was quite popular when I visited, which I was glad to see. Many people were taking pictures or participating in some other provided activity. Even more people brought their dogs. It was nice to experience artwork outside for a change. (I think the dogs enjoyed it, too.) There were also numerous cars decorated and being shown off. One was covered in fur and resembled a polar bear and another seemed to have millions of knick-knacks from various garage sales glued to it. Everywhere you went there was definitely plenty to look at. I thought this shanty exhibit was a clever idea to get people outside, on the ice and involved in art – an interesting combination. It’s too bad this could probably only work in Minnesota – where people will brave the cold – because it is a very pleasant exhibit.