Funky Little Shack

For the past four winters a kind of sci-fi skid row has sprung up on the temporarily frozen surface of Medicine Lake, in the western suburbs of Minne­apolis. This year a humble plywood post office pro­-vides a station for writing letters that will actually be mailed. There is a Korean song room with a corrugated roof, and a jutting teahouse with clear plastic walls that offers cupcakes along with views of the lake. Called Art Shanty Projects, the annual folk-architecture experiment features nearly two dozen cabins—each a unique variation on the traditional Minnesotan ice-fishing shed.

Organized by local artists Peter Haakon Thompson and David Pitman, the five-week festival, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors, “has a strong connection to its site,” Thompson explains. “This year one of the shanties is actually themed around limnology—the study of lakes.” Like ice, however, the event can’t last: the shanties are dismantled on February 17.

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