Art and Art History (Bachelor of Arts)
Graduation Year: 1997
Shannon Anderson is an independent curator and writer specializing in contemporary art and culture. Galleries across Canada have presented her exhibitions, including Oakville Galleries, Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Musée d’art de Joliette, and Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery in Halifax. Shannon has written on contemporary art in Canadian and international art and design magazines (Canadian Art, Art Papers, Eyemazing, Azure and DesignLines) and has produced catalogue essays for a range of private and public galleries.
When choosing a university program back in the 1990s, Shannon found it impossible to select between studying art history and making art. “I was equally interested in both so the Sheridan-UTM joint program suited me perfectly.”
While completing her degree and in the year following graduation, Shannon took on contract work for the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. She then moved to Montreal to complete a Master’s degree in Art History at Concordia University. After earning her degree, Shannon returned to work at Oakville Galleries as Registrar and Assistant Curator. An active volunteer in the artistic community, she has served on the board of the Toronto artist-run centres YYZ Artists’ Outlet and Gallery 44. After leaving Oakville Galleries in 2007, she took on the position of Associate Editor at Azure and DesignLines magazines, and since 2009 Shannon has been busy as a freelance curator and writer, a career path she finds both interesting and challenging.
“I love the flexibility of working with a wide range of institutions and individuals, and exploring the varied possibilities that come with being your own boss. Every project I take on is interesting to me,” says Shannon.
Shannon has used her time to give back to Sheridan both as a keynote speaker at Art and Art History program events and as a past member of the Program’s Advisory Committee. In Fall 2011, she curated an alumni show at the Blackwood Gallery. The exhibition, titled Viva Voce, marked the 40th anniversary of the Art and Art History Program. Focusing on recent work by both new grads and those from decades past, Viva Voce (Living Voice) reflected the diverse mediums embraced by the Art and Art History Program, including photography, film/video, installation, design and painting.
It was a fitting tribute to a program which is known for its collaborative focus. “I’ve always admired the collegial, non-competitive atmosphere generated by the faculty at Sheridan,” says Shannon. “The arts community is fairly small and tight-knit, and I believe it’s far more productive to support each other’s achievements. While it’s my nature to be fairly independent, I’ve learned to value the insights of my colleagues; my experiences at Sheridan helped foster that appreciation.