BRATTLEBORO — Last winter, more than 1,000 people attended the inaugural Artful Ice Shanties exhibit, presented by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and Retreat Farm. Visitors saw ice shanties shaped like a giant iridescent fish, a black die with moon-shaped dots, a seascape with a three-dimensional octopus, and more.
The wild and whimsical Artful Ice Shanties are back for 2022, generously sponsored by Foard Panel, Brattleboro Subaru, and The Marina. This year the exhibit coincides with outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.
Visitors are welcome to stop by the Retreat Farm Saturday, Feb. 19 to Sunday, Feb. 27, dawn to dusk, to view the shanties on display at Farmhouse Square. There is no fee for admission.
A panel of local judges will bestow a variety of lighthearted awards at an outdoor ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m.
“Last year was great,” BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld said in a news release. “But we didn't quite realize our vision of making Artful Ice Shanties a full-on winter festival, celebrating art, culture, and the great outdoors. This year, there will be much more in store for everyone who bundles up and visits.”
Among the 18 individuals and groups who have constructed shanties for the event are local artist Justin Kenney, Green Street School art teacher Rachel Mangean, ice fisherman Stephen Haisley, members of Brattleboro West Arts, and former BMAC Education Curator Linda Whelihan, who worked with family and friends to build the “Northern Light Box,” a glass box that makes use of recycled lenses from Omega Optical to simulate the experience of northern lights.
“Namaskônek” is an ice fishing shanty that was inspired by the Algonquin ancestors of the region and designed in collaboration with Gedakina staff, local Abenaki ice fishers, input from local architects, and Erin Maile O'Keefe as lead. Gedakina is a network that provides resources and opportunities for Native American/Indigenous youth, women, and families from rural, urban, and reservation communities across New England.
Third- and fourth-grade students from Wardsboro Elementary School and their teachers constructed “Animals in Winter,” a shanty that showcases what the students have learned about animals' winter survival strategies.
Additional outdoor events around town are Brattleboro's Winter Carnival, from Feb. 19–27, which includes a full program of events to be announced Thursday, Feb. 17, and the 100th anniversary of the Harris Hill Ski Jump, Feb. 19 and 20.
While the Artful Ice Shanties are on display, BMAC and Retreat Farm will present related events at the Retreat Farm. Details can be found at bit.ly/651-shanties.