Mayor Frey Mistakes Lake Harriet Art Shanties for Encampment, Orders Eviction

Original photo by Lorie Shaull

MINNEAPOLIS— Artists and community organizers expressed frustration with Mayor Jacob Frey and the City of Minneapolis on Monday following an MPD order to disperse the Lake Harriet Art Shanty Project and vacate the park. 

The Art Shanty Project, a Minneapolis tradition since 2004, moved to shore this year due to unsafe ice conditions. Organizers say the move to shore was met soon after by the eviction notice, signed personally by Mayor Frey. 

Sources close to the Mayor’s Office report that Mayor Frey mistook the long-running public art installation as a homeless encampment while cross country skiing with donors. When staffers pointed out the misunderstanding, Mayor Frey reportedly doubled down on the order, saying “[he] didn’t want to get dragged on Twitter for being soft.” 

Despite the fact that the MPD officers clearing the art shanties didn’t realize that the installations weren’t in fact part of an encampment, they stand by their inadvertent effort to reduce access to public art.

““I don’t understand why these hippies can’t just make normal art like the great pieces of the past,” said MPD Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman, “you know, like Mount Rushmore, or that painting of the dogs playing poker, or ‘Home Improvement’”

Mayor Frey was unavailable for direct comment. At press time, the Mayor was aggressively following a heckler in the skyway, insisting that she meet him for a formal debate.