BRATTLEBORO — The past two winters have seen thousands of visitors attend Brattleboro’s Artful Ice Shanties exhibit, presented by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and Retreat Farm. They saw ice shanties shaped like a giant iridescent fish, a black die with moon-shaped dots, a seascape with a three-dimensional octopus, a cockeyed castle, and more.
The Artful Ice Shanties are coming back for the third time, Saturday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 26, generously sponsored by Foard Panel, Brattleboro Subaru, and The Marina, and with grant support from the Vermont Arts Council.
“For the first time, the shanties are going to be out on the ice at Retreat Meadows,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld in a news release. “The past two years, we had to set them up on land at Retreat Farm, but the vision was always to have them on the ice, alongside the ‘real’ ice fishing shanties, and this year, that’s where they’ll be.”
Lichtenfeld continued, “As anyone who’s gone skating or snowshoeing at Retreat Meadows can attest, it’s a magical experience. Being out there on the ice is going to add yet another layer of wonder to the exhibit. Of course, that’s all contingent on the weather. If there is any question whatsoever about the quality of the ice, we’ll set up the shanties on land.”
Visitors are welcome to view the shanties from dawn to dusk. There is no fee for admission. Free parking is available at Retreat Farm, and signs will be posted directing visitors to the shanties. A welcome hut with exhibit information and complimentary hot chocolate will be staffed 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day the exhibit is open.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m., a panel of local judges will bestow a variety of lighthearted awards during an outdoor Awards Ceremony near the welcome hut.
Earlier in the day, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department of will be offering an ice-fishing clinic. For more information and to register for the clinic, visit retreatfarm.org. And in the evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., there will be a free, all-ages, outdoor dance party, with Jaci’s BBQ food truck and the Thirsty Goat Bar on hand to provide nourishment.
Among those constructing shanties for this year’s exhibit are returning builders Annaliese Bischoff, Bruce Campbell, Justin Kenney, Charlie Konkowski, and Rachel Suplee.
They will be joined by first-timers Dakota Benedetto, Samuel Daoud, Joshua Farr, Zak Grace, Keene State College’s “Art in Community” class, Angus McCullough, Anne Murphy and Amy Nelson, Matt Neckers, NewBrook Elementary School fourth graders, Ronald Schneiderman, and members of Zea Mays Printmaking studio.
This year’s Artful Ice Shanties exhibit coincides with numerous other events taking place in Brattleboro, including the iconic Harris Hill Ski Jump (Feb. 18-19), Brattleboro’s Winter Carnival (Feb. 18-26), and the opening of “Keith Haring: Subway Drawings” at BMAC, Saturday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m.