Shannon Stratton is a founder and Executive Director of threewalls, a Chicago based not-for-profit for the presentation of contemporary art and ideas. Established in 2003, threewalls has grown from a start-up exhibition space to a vital visual arts organization supporting contemporary art through solo exhibitions, residencies, grants, publications, conferences and commissioning programs. With Green Lantern Press she founded and published (via threewalls) PHONEBOOK, a guide to contemporary independant and artist-run projects, now in its third volume, and The Artists Run Chicago Digest, a companion, appraisal and extension to the exhibition of the same name at The Hyde Park Center. Along with Roots & Culture, Document and The Public Media Institute, she co-founded (as threewalls) the MDW Fair in Chicago, a gathering of artists and independent visual arts platforms. She is a co-founder of FIELD: Artist Projects and Spaces, a national alliance of and advocacy group for small-scale visual arts platforms and their producers.
Stratton writes, curates exhibitions and other experimental projects, and relishes opportunity for administrative and pedagogical experiments. Projects include: Resonating Bodies, The Soap Factory, Minneapolis; Ps & Qs, The Glassel School of Art, Houston and The Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago (with Jeff Ward); Things to Be Next To at Charlotte Street Foundation, Kansas/threewalls, Chicago (with Kate Hackman); Bellwether at Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Reskilling at Western Front Exhibitions, Vancouver, Canada (with Luanne Martineau) and Gestures of Resistance: Craft, Performance, and the Politics of Slowness (with Judith Leemann) a panel discussion and exhibition at the College Art Association, Dallas, Texas and The Portland Museum of Craft, Portland, Oregon. In the summers she works with her partner Joe Jeffers on OHIO 3550 in SE Appalachian Ohio, coordinating projects including residencies, festivals and site-specific architecture. Her "weird social experiment" (to quote one of her students), Party As Form, a class in group dynamics and transitional spaces, was hosted by Ox Bow School of Art in Michigan in 2013 & 2014.
In 2010 Stratton was named one of the top 5 most vital people in the visual arts in Chicago by NewCity. In 2011 she was a fellow of the NAMAC Visual Arts Leadership Institute and a finalist for the Chicago Community Trust Emerging Leader Award. Stratton was 1 of 9 leaders in the arts featured in the Chicago Tribune 2011 Chicagoans of the Year. In 2013 Newcity named her one 50 "Visual Vanguards."
Stratton teaches in Art History, Theory & Criticism and Fiber & Material Studies departments at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was appointed Critical Studies Fellow at The Cranbrook Academy of Art for fall 2012. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Alberta College of Art Board of Governors' Alumni Award of Excellence.
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