Staff Spotlight: Shannon Bourne
February 5, 2013
By Tim Shaunnessey ('13)
||Photo by Max DeGenova ('16)
Shannon Bourne has to wear a number of hats on a regular basis.
Bourne is operations coordinator for ShopColumbia, the on-campus purveyor of student and alumni art at 623 S. Wabash Ave. The store allows students to gain experience in marketing and selling their art, supported and coached by Columbia College Chicago staff.
Her work includes the logistical concerns of keeping the shop running, as well as working with student artists and her own student assistants that help run the shop. Despite the requisite juggling, she’s quite happy with her work at Columbia.
“I look for a job that is educational [and in] a creative environment, and this definitely fits,” she said.
Bourne has four student workers to manage, and she works closely with them in two different capacities: to keep the shop going and to make sure they get the educational experience they’re looking for in the position.
“I help each of those students develop their work plan throughout the week and figure out exactly what it is they want to get out of the position,” she said.
Bourne also handles “artist relations,” working with students and alumni who submit their work be considered for inclusion in the shop’s inventory. To that end, she works with both the ShopColumbia Review Board and the artists submitting their work, in the interest of getting the art to the shelves.
Prior to her time at Columbia, Bourne earned her undergraduate degree in fine art from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and after graduation she worked in various management capacities. “After graduation I continued to make some work and do residencies, but then I realized I liked producing the exhibitions rather than making the work,” she said.
That epiphany drew her to the Arts Entertainment and Media Management graduate program at Columbia. She graduated in 2009 and has since worked in arts project management, freelance grant writing, and curating exhibits around the city.
Now back on Columbia’s campus, she said she’s happy with the environment. Of course, being where she’s at, it’s hard to get bored.
“We have so many interesting people that come into the shop– whether it’s faculty, staff, students, or random people off the street,” she said. “It’s really just dealing with a lot of personalities sometimes, which is part of what I enjoy about the job.”
A key thing to remember about the Shop is that the kind of exposure and experience it offers is of no small significance, she said.
“I think a lot of people see it as a store that sells work and ‘whatever,’ but it really helps the students throughout their career at Columbia,” she said. “We work with them at every stage—freshman to seniors—and it’s really a great way to get work out into the community.”
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