The Light House Shanty is:

Matt Sand, Laura Klecker, Jenna Hines, Dane Steinlicht, Joseph Lochner, Jana Larson, Ross Keim

With the light house, we intend to gather as much energy as possible, so that we can give it away freely. From the Sun and each other, we will capture and retain energy, so that we may manipulate it into visual, thermal, playful and creative forms that, when consumed, bring much needed winter-time energy to our visitors.

Medicine Lake, Minnesota, Bahamas

Friday, January 15, 2010

LIghthouse Shanty opens this weekend on Medicine Lake

January 15, 2010

Several teams of artists are working furiously on Medicine Lake to get ready for the opening weekend of the Art Shanty Project, an art festival that features artist-built structures that riff on the idea of ice-fishing houses.

The Lighthouse Art Shanty, a towering glass and metal art installation, is
a collaborative project of three architects, a photographer, a set designer and a filmmaker. The structure is designed to harness light and energy from the winter sun in order to present projected images and a vision of sustainability.

Speaking about the process of creating the shanty, filmmaker Jana Larson says, “The most impressive part of this process has been the collaboration. Initially, I just wanted to create a space for presenting a film using only lenses and light that would bring the viewer into the present space and into their bodies rather than transporting them into some fantasy. At first, when I proposed that idea to the group there was silence and then someone said, ‘It’s winter ⎯ people are already light deprived. I’m worried that putting them in a dark room would be depressing.’” She laughs. “Eventually we decided on light as our theme because light in the winter is scarce and really beautiful. But the structure itself isn't a dark room any more. It's got huge windows!"

Principal architect Matt Sand says, “For me the theme of light was interesting because I wanted to make a point about sustainability. I wanted to make a building that gets so hot people are surprised by it and see what we can do with just a little sun and insulation, even in the middle of a frozen lake. We don’t need gas and electricity all the time.”

Lighthouse is a model for sustainable practices. It’s built from scavenged and recycled materials, employs a simple solar heating system made from copper coils and plastic tubing, and even has a solar rotisserie outside for cooking hot dogs. “Or tofu dogs if you prefer,” says Larson.

“If you’re talking about sustainability, don’t forget cooperation and shared vision. As an artist, I’ve learned that collaborating with other people is more fun and often produces something more awesome. Right now, if we want a sustainable future, we have to figure that out. We have the technology for the most part to create an amazing future for ourselves, but we have to get everyone to work together toward that goal.”

Over the next month, Lighthouse will be hosting readings on light by local writers, alternative photography workshops by Laura Klecker, fluxus-inspired performances and Larson’s film “Fade-in.” (For more info and a schedule go to

Art Shanty projects runs weekends through February 7. For more information, visit

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