Shannon Stratton will reflect on the urgency of small to mid-size, independent arts organizations today, in light of a robust art market that often eclipses the value and potency of the visual arts outside market objectives. Founder and current Executive Director of Threewalls, Stratton has lead this Chicago-based organization to have an emphasis on support and advocacy for their peers in the field, founding projects such as PHONEBOOK, a national guide to grass-roots arts initiatives and resources; The Hand In Glove Conference for grass-roots and small NFP organizers, and Common Field, an emerging national organization aimed at building resources and advocacy for small-scale arts organizing.
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 8550 OHIO 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 of 50 "Visual Vanguards."
Stratton teaches in the 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.