BRATTLEBORO — Last winter, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center's inaugural Artful Ice Shanties outdoor exhibit drew more than 1,000 visitors to Retreat Farm to view structures shaped like a giant iridescent fish, a black die with moon-shaped dots, a seascape with a three-dimensional octopus, and more.
Conceived as a place-based celebration of artistic talent, creative ingenuity, and the rich history of ice fishing at the Retreat Meadows, the exhibit also proved to be a welcome opportunity for safe, outdoor winter fun.
“We believe this has the potential to become a new signature winter event for Brattleboro and all of Vermont,” BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld said in a news release. “It's a perfect mix of art and outdoor recreation, two of Vermonters' passions, and it's inspired by the iconic New England pastime of ice fishing.”
BMAC and Retreat Farm are accepting entries for Artful Ice Shanties 2022, which will take place from Saturday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.
Artists, ice fishers, design-builders, tiny house aficionados, and creative groups and individuals of all ages and experience levels are invited to enter.
Registration forms and details are available at brattleboromuseum.org. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, Dec. 15 or until space is full. Interested parties are encouraged to register soon.
Eligible entries can be traditional or conceptual ice shanties, functional or wacky, as long as they are artful.
For example, an artful ice shanty might be shaped like a loon, a rocket ship, a school bus, or a cathedral; it might double as a pinhole camera, sauna, or dance floor; or it might be designed to have a second life after the exhibit as a ticket booth, warming hut, demonstration tiny house, soup shack, chicken coop, or, of course, a functional ice fishing shanty.
The only other requirement is that it must be sturdy enough to withstand wind, rain, snow, and ice at Retreat Farm in February.
This year, the Artful Ice Shanties will be displayed in Farmhouse Square at Retreat Farm (where the Food Truck Roundup is held in the summer). As weather and Covid conditions permit, this second iteration of the exhibit will include more outdoor events, activities, demonstrations, and performances.
A panel of local judges will bestow a variety of lighthearted awards at an outdoor awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 at 3 p.m., following the 100th anniversary edition of Brattleboro's Harris Hill Ski Jump, which will take place a short walk from Retreat Farm [story, A1].