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Sean Wagner, Monica Russell

Using white-painted steel and colorful string for its latest art shanty entry called “String Box Shanty,” NewStudio Architecture is encouraging hands-on interaction with its design during the Art Shanty Projects On-Ice Program, weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 4-26 on White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The collaborative art installation will react to the ever-changing environment of the lake and its surroundings and showcase the effect of human touch. Visitors will thread string through steel washers welded to the 7 ft. x 7 ft. frame, creating unique patterns in a maze of overlapping colors. The structure is built with hinged triangles that can open like flaps on an envelope to add even more structural interest. The designers hope that reflective strips on the frame and glow-in-the-dark parachute cord in the lower triangles will create a unique nighttime effect as well.

“Our team appreciates the Art Shanty Projects’ mission to create artist-audience interaction in a friendly, accessible way. Our two previous projects invited participation but this design pushes the concept to a new level. We don’t even know what this shanty will look like in the end. It’s totally dependent on how visitors thread the strings and if nature adds precipitation or not,” said Sean Wagner, CEO/president of NewStudio Architecture (BArch 1991 Architecture).

This year’s design team includes Wagner and staff members Christopher Brenny, Dave Dammar, Mark Dunsworth, Adam Jarvi and Monica Russell (MArch 2005 Architecture). “We’re pairing this design with last year’s art shanty, which has the same dimensions for balance. We’ll position a time-lapse camera in the older shanty to capture how this concept develops,” added Jarvi. “We’ve participated in the Art Shanty Projects for the past three events and it’s always a high-energy experience.”


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