Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition

Deadline: ASAP; first come, first served

Calling all artists, ice fishing enthusiasts, tiny house aficionados, and design-builders of all ages and experience levels! You and your friends, family, school, business, or team are invited to participate in the inaugural Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition, presented by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and Retreat Farm in conjunction with the exhibits Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture and Erik Hoffner: Ice Visions.

Register here.

Your ice shanty can be traditional or conceptual, functional or wacky, permanent or ephemeral (as long as it can withstand the elements for two weeks!), but it must be artful! For example, you might choose to 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 history and heritage of our area
  • An ice shanty shaped like a fish with shimmering scales
  • An ice shanty that will have a second life after the contest as a ticket booth, warming hut, demonstration tiny house, soup shack, chicken coop, or, of course, a functional ice fishing shanty!

We encourage the use of recycled, repurposed, or donated materials, but new materials are certainly permitted.

The Artful Ice Shanties will be displayed at Retreat Farm February 13-28. 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 the Brattleboro Museum.

Certificates will be awarded for notably artistic, inventive, fun, or silly shanties at the outdoor Awards Ceremony on Sunday, February 14.

Ice shanties must be delivered on February 11-12 and picked up on March 1-2. Builders are responsible for delivery and pickup. Your creation should be around the size of a typical ice shanty, with a footprint likely between 4’x4’ and 8’x8’. If you’d like to make one larger than that, you will need to get prior approval to ensure we have enough space. Ice shanties must be built on skids to facilitate loading and moving. If your ice shanty has a door, it must be lockable. The public will be invited to view the ice shanties, with face masks and social distancing as required by the State of Vermont.

If you’re interested in participating, please register as soon as possible, as space is limited. We will accept registrations until we are full. After you register, we’ll be in touch to get more details as your project unfolds, including a title and description for your wintry work of art.

This project was inspired in part by Art Shanty Projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Questions? Contact Bobolink Communications at

There is no fee for entry.

Generously sponsored by