BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and Retreat Farm present the inaugural Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition. Artists, ice fishing enthusiasts, tiny house aficionados, and design-builders of all ages and experience levels are invited to build artful ice shanties that will be displayed at Retreat Farm from February 13 through February 28. Entries can be built by individuals or by groups of friends, family members, classmates, office colleagues, or any kind of team.

Registration forms and details, including building specifications, are available at There is no fee for entry, but interested parties are encouraged to register soon, as space is limited.

The inaugural Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition is a celebration of the artistic talent and creative ingenuity of the Brattleboro region as well as the long history and tradition of ice fishing at the Retreat Meadows. It is intended as a timely observance of the delightful possibilities of winter, at a time when being outdoors is safest.

Ice shanties submitted to the competition can be traditional or conceptual, functional or wacky, permanent or ephemeral, but they must be artful. For example, an individual or team might 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 heritage of our area; an ice shanty shaped like a fish; or an ice shanty that will have a second life after the competition as a ticket booth, warming hut, demonstration tiny house, soup shack, chicken coop, or, of course, a functional ice fishing shanty. A participant could also choose to build a traditional ice shanty, but one that is beautifully designed or decorated.

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. The use of recycled, repurposed, or donated materials is encouraged, but new materials are also permitted.

A panel of local judges will bestow a variety of light-hearted awards at an outdoor Awards Ceremony on Sunday, February 14.

This event is presented in connection with two current BMAC exhibits, “Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture” and “Erik Hoffner: Ice Visions,” both on view through March 6.

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis. Virtual visits to the Museum are available at Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Allen Bros. Oil, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Four Columns Inn, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery.

Erin Jenkins
Author: Erin Jenkins

Gallery Manager & Marketing Coordinator Brattleboro Museum & Art Center 10 Vernon Street  Brattleboro VT 05301 802-257-0124 x 113 Facebook | Instagram | Blog: Art Loves Company

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