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Mara Koenig/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest

“Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty,” an example of the type of ice shanties that will be competing this winter in the Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition.

The Arts

BMAC, Retreat Farm seek entries for first-ever Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and Retreat Farm present the inaugural Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition.

Artists, ice fishing enthusiasts, tiny house aficionados, and design-builders of all ages and experience levels are invited to build artful ice shanties that will be displayed at Retreat Farm from Feb. 13 through Feb. 28. Entries can be built by individuals or by groups of friends, family members, classmates, office colleagues, or any kind of team.

Registration forms and details, including building specifications, are available at brattleboromuseum.org. There is no fee for entry, but interested parties are encouraged to register soon, as space is limited.

According to a news release, the inaugural competition “is a celebration of the artistic talent and creative ingenuity of the Brattleboro region as well as the long history and tradition of ice fishing at the Retreat Meadows. It is intended as a timely observance of the delightful possibilities of winter, at a time when being outdoors is safest.”

Ice shanties submitted to the competition can be traditional or conceptual, functional or wacky, permanent or ephemeral. But they must be artful.

“For example, an individual or team might build an ice shanty that doubles as a radio station, pinhole camera, sauna, or dance floor; a game-themed ice shanty shaped like a giant chess piece; an interpretive-history-themed ice shanty that tells the story of an aspect of the heritage of our area; an ice shanty shaped like a fish; or an ice shanty that will have a second life after the competition as a ticket booth, warming hut, demonstration tiny house, soup shack, chicken coop, or, of course, a functional ice-fishing shanty,” the contest organizers said.

A participant could also choose to build a traditional ice shanty, but one that is beautifully designed or decorated.

Most of the shanties will be displayed on solid ground in front of Retreat Farm, with a few placed on the Retreat Meadows ice. One or two might also be displayed in front of BMAC.

The use of recycled, repurposed, or donated materials is encouraged, but new materials are also permitted.

A panel of local judges will bestow a variety of light-hearted awards at an outdoor awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 14.

This event is presented in connection with two current BMAC exhibits, “Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture” and “Erik Hoffner: Ice Visions,” both on view through March 6.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #589 (Wednesday, November 25, 2020). This story appeared on page D4.

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