BMAC, Retreat Farm invite Artful Ice Shanty entries

BRATTLEBORO — Artists, ice fishing enthusiasts, and builders of all ages and experience levels are invited to enter the 2024 Artful Ice Shanties outdoor exhibition presented by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and Retreat Farm.

The exhibition will be held Feb. 17–25, with a closing ceremony on(1) Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. The exhibition and closing ceremony will take place on the Retreat Meadows ice across the road from Retreat Farm or, in case of unsafe ice, on the grounds of Retreat Farm itself, at 45 Farmhouse Square.

The deadline to register a shanty is Friday, Dec. 15. The first 15 artists or groups to register will receive a $200 stipend upon delivery of their shanty. There is no fee for entry. Registration forms and details are available at

Launched in 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift to outdoor activities, Artful Ice Shanties celebrates artistic talent, creative ingenuity, winter spirit, and the rich history of ice fishing in New England, say organizers. Last year, more than 2,000 people visited the 15 shanties on display.

According to a news release, Artful Ice Shanties entries can be traditional or conceptual, functional or wacky, permanent or temporary-as long as they can be moved and can withstand the wind, snow, and ice in mid-February, as well as exploration by the general public throughout the week.

Past entries have included a translucent box that used recycled lenses to simulate the experience of the northern lights, a shanty made from bent willow branches in the shape of a giant fish, an enormous black die with moons as dots, a seascape featuring a three-dimensional octopus, and (2)Namaskônek, a shanty inspired by the Algonquin ancestors of the region.

"Artful Ice Shanties has become one of Brattleboro's signature winter events," said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. "It's a wonderful mix of art and outdoor recreation, two Vermont passions; and it's inspired by the long tradition of ice fishing in our area."

Artful Ice Shanties is generously sponsored by Foard Panel, The Marina, Berkley & Veller, and Brattleboro Subaru. It was inspired by Art Shanty Projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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