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BRATTLEBORO — Artists, ice fishing enthusiasts, tiny house aficionados and design-builders of all ages and experience levels are invited to build artful ice shanties to be displayed at Retreat Farm Feb. 13 through Feb. 28. Entries can be built by individuals or by groups.

The inaugural Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition is presented by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and Retreat Farm.

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 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 possibilities of winter, at a time when gathering together is safer outdoors.

Ice shanties submitted to the competition can be traditional or conceptual, functional or wacky, permanent or ephemeral, but they must be artful. Examples could include 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 lighthearted awards at an outdoor Awards Ceremony on Feb. 14.

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

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, at the intersection of Main Street and routes 119 and 142, Brattleboro, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis. The museum is wheelchair accessible. More information is available by calling 802-257-0124 or visiting

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