Unlike other faculty members, Shannon Lindsey’s office is in the back of the UCF Art Gallery behind two metal doors that are always unlocked during working hours.
“If I’m here and the gallery is open, anyone can come back in here,” Lindsey said. “I like being so close to the gallery and knowing what’s going on in there. Even if I’m working on emails or paperwork I’m still connected.”
Lindsey became the UCF art gallery director three months ago. Originally from Plant City, she attended the University of South Florida during her undergraduate career. However, the former USF Bull has begun to settle into the Knight lifestyle.
“If you’re in a place of growth, part of who you are and what you’re passionate about can become part of that growth and change,” Lindsey said. “To me, UCF represents that.”
In 2004, Lindsey became the first in her family to go college and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008. In 2014, she earned her Master of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina and worked as the university's gallery director for two years before making the move to UCF.
Heidi Vance is a sophomore studying studio art and works as an art gallery assistant alongside Lindsey.
“She’s a very structured and organized boss,” Vance said. “She helps install the shows [and] there is a lot more communication between the staff.”
During Vance’s time at the gallery, there have been two art gallery directors in a little over a year. She said she is happy to see the positive changes Lindsey has made in the gallery and is enjoying the structure.
Lindsey says she gives ownership to students working in the gallery. However, she is in almost constant contact with the assistants as any shows or exhibitions are set up and stored around her office area.
“This is really backstage for the gallery,” Lindsey said.
Equipment, past showpieces, and files surround Lindsey’s cubicle. Before an exhibition, Lindsey said that the she works alongside the art gallery assistants to get everything set up.
In addition to running the gallery, Lindsey teaches 2-D design to the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD) students.
“I knew I wanted to pursue a job in academia,” Lindsey said. “I’m passionate about teaching. I’ll always like teaching.”
While at USF, Lindsey said she had a “lightbulb” go off while learning from her mentor Elisabeth Condon.
“As her student, [Condon] got a grant to go to China and she came back and told us about her experience,” Lindsey said. “It was exciting having a real contemporary practicing artist as your teacher. It gave me that realization that you can do both.”
Lindsey and Condon still keep in touch, and though Condon is no longer teaching, she said she has a lot of respect for what Lindsey does.
“Art gallery directors provide a gateway to the world of art by offering opportunities for students and artists to work together,” Condon said.
Lindsey said she believes everyone is efficient at the gallery because they are team-oriented. She said this is important for making operations run smoothly so the gallery is displaying work for all of UCF, especially art students.
“The gallery is this place where -- as an art student -- you can see all of the stuff you’re learning [about] coming into play and where it goes after you make everything,” Lindsey said.