Kohler Arts Center taps Shannon Stratton as interim curator

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Kohler Arts Center taps Shannon Stratton as interim curator
A nationwide search for a new senior curator is underway.

SHEBOYGAN, WI.- The John Michael Kohler Arts Center announced today that Shannon R. Stratton has been contracted as interim lead curator following the departure of Senior Curator Karen Patterson in June.

A nationwide search for a new senior curator is underway. Stratton will be supported in her Arts Center role by a curatorial fellow. Applications for the fellowship are being accepted at hr@jmkac.org.

"Shannon brings the right mix of skills and experience to ensure a successful transition to our bringing a new senior curator on board. She is a seasoned professional, and in her past work with the Arts Center she has revealed the collaborative and innovative sensibility that is so much a part of what we do,” said Sam Gappmayer, Arts Center director.

As interim lead curator, Stratton will curate the Arts Center’s main gallery exhibition running April–October, 2020, title to be announced. She will also act as consultant for all 2020 curatorial projects through the development and execution stages, providing additional planning support and ideation for 2021 exhibitions

Stratton is one of four collaborators for the Arts Center’s upcoming exhibitions series Lenore Tawney: Mirror of The Universe. Her exhibition Even Thread Has a Speech (September 1, 2019–February 2, 2020) features the work of eight contemporary artists responding to Lenore Tawney’s artistic legacy.

Karen Patterson, who has been hired as curator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, will continue as the series curator, including curating the Tawney retrospective, In Poetry and Silence.

Stratton is an independent curator and researcher with a focus on contemporary applications of craft in art and design, artist-run and grass-roots cultural organizing and developing climate conscious strategies for cultural programming. Her previous work with the Arts Center includes curating the 2017 exhibition An Encounter with Presence: Emery Blagdon that paired Blagdon with modernist artist and designer Harry Bertoia and sound artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. She served four years as chief curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York where she programmed 35 exhibitions, launched the Burke Prize and curated Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care and Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound, among others.

Previously, Stratton co-founded and served 12 years as director of Threewalls, a Chicago-based contemporary arts organization. With Threewalls, she co-founded the Hand-in-Glove Conference, which led to the formation of Common Field, a nonprofit national network that supports and advocates for independent arts organizations and organizers. Her Threewalls’ exhibition Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries, A Retrospective, toured venues in the United States from 2014–2018, and was nominated for Best Presentation in an Alternative Venue by the International Association of Art Critics (AiCA-USA). The monograph, Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries, edited by Stratton, was published in 2018 by Intellect books.

Stratton is Core Faculty in Warren Wilson’s Critical and Historical Craft Studies MA program. This spring she was awarded one of two Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Research Grants for her work on Slow Frequency, a biannual itinerant exhibition that seeks to model climate conscious cultural practices.

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