"I love extending an invitation into my world and passions through my photography, poetry, and prose. Across my broad range of skills, I most appreciate surfacing the unseen.
What is someone's story under the surface of their face and presentation? What is forgotten to human memory that should be reclaimed? Or, most simply, how can I share the sense or soul of a place with someone who may not ever travel there?
I have an endless hunger to ask questions, create conversation through visual or written commentary, and journey into the unknown through my various creative endeavors or collaborations. Even if what I unearth through some of these adventures scare me."
Photo credit: Chinue Clifford
Shanta Lee is an artist who works in different mediums as a photographer, writer across genres and is a public intellectual whose work has been widely featured. Her major exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine. The multimedia exhibition which includes her photographs, her short film, interviews with the models, and items selected by Shanta Lee from within the Fleming Museum's collection is currently on view at the Fleming Museum of Art and is a started off as an initial idea and inquiry: Who or what is the Goddess when she is allowed to misbehave? Who is the Goddess when she is allowed to expand beyond bearer of life, nurturer, and all of the other boxes that we confine women to within our society? Dark Goddess is a mix of ethnography, cultural anthropology, an exploration of the sacred feminine, and a co-creation with each of the individuals featured.
Shanta Lee is the author of GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues, the winner of the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize with an honorable mention from the Sheila Margaret Motton prize, and reviews featured in the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Books, Seven Days, the Kenyon Review, and the The Adroit Journal. Her forthcoming collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023), is what Shanta Lee describes as a 2000+ year old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating her own new language in this work. Black Metamorphoses is an illustrated poetry collection that has been longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize.
Her contributing work on several investigative journalism pieces for The Commons received a number of New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards. She is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c. 1730-1821) — considered the first known African-American poet in English literature — as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Council Speakers Bureaus. Connected to Shanta Lee’s creative and professional practice is her collaborative work which has included co-curating the I AM… exhibition with the Vermont Arts Council along with her work on the statewide CreateVT, a strategic plan geared towards the creative sector. Other highlights from her career have included the implementation of the city-wide Visioning a Healthier New Haven , a campaign in New Haven, CT which included a digital storytelling component and data collection; the curation of small -large scale events incorporating the Giving Women Power Over AIDS traveling exhibition; and launching a creativity forums series, Healing with Art and Nourishing the Inner Artist: Conversations about Art, Creativity, and Imagination within Vermont which targeted creatives across the states of CT, MA, and VT.
Shanta Lee's current work includes acting as one of the advisors for Jay Craven’s film, Lost Nation, which will illustrate how the Prince family and Ethan Allen took different paths toward the American dream. In addition to teaching media studies at The Putney School, she is a Vermont Public Radio producer and reporter, and a regular contributor to Art New England, and Ms. Magazine. In addition to teaching a Media Studies course at The Putney School, Shanta Lee is one of the writers for the Ms. Magazine Blog, a regular contributor to Art New England and is a producer and reporter for Vermont Public Radio.
Shanta Lee is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors. She has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College. She enjoys finding new abandoned places to explore, and her taste in books is as broad as her musical appreciation. Anything from Gregorian chants or Vivaldi to Queen, Led Zeppelin, and A$AP Rocky can be found on her playlist.
Other Ways to Learn About Shanta Lee
Art in the Time of COVID: Shanta Lee Gander Vermont Arts Council
Art Review: 'I AM…' Seven Days
I Am A Vermont Artist Vermont Arts Council Profile
"Stories to be told in 'Voices’:What does it mean to be an authentic self?" Manchester Journal
"Photography Show In Brattleboro Celebrates 'Perfect Imperfections' Vermont Public Radio with Mary Engisch
"The Beauty of Perfect Imperfection" Brattleboro Reformer
"Kingsbury,Suzanne. “Becoming the Cartographer of Her Own Life” Ms.Magazine Blog
FromGhetto to Granola: A Talk About Racism Vermont Public Radio with Jane Lindholm and Ric Cengeri
“ARTstravaganzaOffers Potpourri of Creativity" Rutland Herald