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Shonna Pryor is a conceptual art maker and art programs producer. Her multidisciplinary practice critically engages the politics of identity, memory, power, and play. An Afrofuturist aesthetic underscores the language of these expressions using reclaimed objects, painting, installation and public programming. Pryor's visual art has been exhibited in major cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York, with esteemed artist residencies such as the Hyde Park Art Center’s Jackman Goldwasser Artist Residency, Chicago Artists Coalition Hatch Residency, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Homan Artist Residency and the Chicago Council on Science and Technology respectively. Her visual art and community-based program collaborations with local and nationally recognized organizations and institutions has been instrumental in employing visual art to inspire future generations. Pryor's engagement in the field of art and culture is further enhanced by her award-winning, art-based broadcast media work that has sought to innovate through an intersecting of the two disciplines. She is a 2018-2019 Emmy Award, Midwest winner and was also shortlisted for the 2017-18 Harvard University Knight Visiting Neiman Fellowship Award.

"Pryor animates the anthropological through experimental disordering of linear time: historical events, private familial touchstones, trauma, and irrepressible joy are clustered into conceptual ‘tableau vivant,’ acting out upon one another within Pryor’s constructs and critical apparatuses. she elevates a strata of lived history often swept away from what is canonically preserved by pernicious systems of power. she collects trails of crumbs that amass into trenchant stories that allow the artist and her audiences to revisit passages of perseverance, ingenuity, and grace within the Black American experience.
Food—bread, cheddar, and dough, for instance—is never exclusively metaphoric nor solely literal in Pryor’s practice. at the nexus of family recipes, meals recollected, as well as more sweeping analyses of wealth distribution and access to the means to build sustainable approaches to living, the artist traces the material realities of what might be called provisions, nourishment, investment. an accounting of the spiritual, psychological, and social ramifications of feeding and being fed.
Pryor’s inquiries press on the fraught pasts and multiple dazzling and disorienting futures of mutual care as a foundational political responsibility. in all seriousness and all playfulness, it’s great to be around what she does." 


-Matt Morris, contributing writer to, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Fragrantica, Sculpture, The Seen, and X-TRA 



2016—The New School, Master of Science in Media Management, Arts Programming, Production and Development (NY, NY)

2012—School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Master of Fine Arts in Studio Painting and Drawing (Chicago, IL)

2002—College for Creative Studies, BFA in Fiber and Materials Studies (Detroit, MI)

Interdisciplinary Artist and Art Programs Producer—2007- present

Visual Arts Educator, School of the Art Institute of Chicago—2012-present

Undergraduate Admissions Portfolio Reviewer, School of the Art Institute of Chicago—2023-present
Research Producer, WTTW/Chicago PBS, Chicago, IL—2016-2017

Research and Production, Chicago Access Network Television—2012

Art & Design Educator, Baker College, Auburn Hills, MI—2004
Production Assistant, Community Media Network Cablevision, Troy, MI—2002- 2003

2019 - Emmy Award Winner, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Midwest:

           Arts/Entertainment Programing Program/Special Series (Art & Design in Chicago)

2019 - (nominee) Peter Lisagor Award, WTTW Chicago Public Broadcast Television:

            “Best News/Specialty/Arts/Culture/Entertainment News–Feature or Series (Art & Design, Chicago)”
2017 - (finalist) Knight Visiting Neiman Fellowship Award, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

2016 - Judy and John McCarter Fellowship, WTTW Chicago Public Television
2012 - Archibald Motley Jr. Artist Grant Award
2009 - School of the Art Institute of Chicago Merit Scholarship Award



“Of Portals and Pathways II: Fiscal Frontiers” Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL


“Solo: Of Portals and Pathways", Material Gallery, Chicago, IL



"Felicific", Chicago Artist Coalition Hatch Residency Exhibition, Chicago, IL

"We Are What You Eat", Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL


"To Be Continued..." Chicago Artist Coalition Hatch Residency Exhibition, Chicago, IL

"Neighbors", Purple Window Gallery at Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL

"Re/View: CCS Alumni Exhibition", Valade Gallery, curated by Sabrina Nelson, Detroit, MI


"A Woman With A Baguette", Ruschwoman Gallery, curated by Matt Morris

"Relic", curated by Cierra McKissick, University of Chicago Arts Incubator, Chicago, IL  

"Faculty Exhibition" Evanston Art Center, Chicago, IL


"The TOGETHER Tablecloth Summer Tour Series", Black Lives Matter Rally(ies), Chicago, IL

“By & For | BLM (Black Lives Matter)”, curated by Fabiola Tosi, Instagram

“WallPAPER of Respect: The Freedmens Bureau Ledgers” guest artist with the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble, Stoney Island Arts Bank, Chicago, IL


“Take Root Among the Stars” curated by D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“High Concepts Lab Open House Show”, Constellation Chicago, Chicago, IL
"Female Curves", CAN TV Broadcast Channel, Chicago, IL

“Experience: Threewalls Annual Gala”, Threewalls Gallery, Chicago, IL


“The Presidential Library Project: Black Presidential Imaginary” curated by Ross Jordan, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL


“Adorn”, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL
 “Gender Bombs and Other Cooking Ingredients” Impromptu Intervention Performance,

“Gender Bombs and Other Cooking Ingredients” Impromptu intervention performances: Expo Chicago
 The Armory Show, New York, NY Frieze, New York, NY

“Surface, Place”, Abrazo Interno Gallery, New York, NY
 “Art from Excess”, Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, Gary, IN


“Gender Bombs and Other Cooking Ingredients” Impromptu intervention performances:
Art Basel, Miami; Whitney Biennial, New York; New York Frieze Art Fair, New York; Expo Chicago; New York City Gallery tours led by Jerry Saltz courtesy of Vulture Magazine—Gagosian Gallery, Luhring Augustine Gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, David Zwirner Gallery, Petzel Gallery

“Female Curves” CAN-TV art video programming hosted by ExTV SAIC, Chicago, IL

"Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" Performance Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago

Museum, Chicago, IL

“Gender Bombs and Other Cooking Ingredients” Impromptu intervention performance, Expo Chicago


"Graduate Thesis Exhibition", The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL


"Dialogical Self", The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL


“Post-Baccalaureate Thesis Exhibition”, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL "Midnight Snacks", 1366 Space, Chicago, IL

“Full Circle”, G.R. N'Namdi Gallery, Detroit MI 2006

"75th Anniversary Show", Detroit Artists Market, Detroit MI


2024 (forthcoming)

The School of The Art Institute of Chicago Artist-In-Residency (Lawndale/Homan), Chicago, IL


Chicago Artists Coalition, Hatch Residency, Chicago, IL


Chicago Council on Science and Technology Residency, Chicago, IL

Wild Yams Residency, Chicago, IL

Artist Winter Intensive Residency, High Concept Labs, Chicago, IL

Jackman Goldwasser Artist Residency, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL


2023 “Recipe Storytelling” Workshop, ThreeWalls + Dreaming Circle, Chicago, IL

2021 – "It's Cyborg!" AT&T Community Youth Development Program + Chicago Parks District (Murray Park), Chicago IL

2021 – "Mission to Mars Museum" Carole Robertson Learning Center, Chicago, IL

2018 – "Object Storytelling: Appropriating the AIC Museum" Baker College Prep High School classroom,

             Chicago, IL

2017 – "Youth Summer Fashion Camp: Food Theme Inspired By First Lady Michelle Obama (Healthy

              Food Initiative For Children)", The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

2016 – "Recipe Storytelling: Senior Community", Lawndale/Homan Community Center, Chicago, IL

“Female Curves”, ExTV Broadcast, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

“Dialogical Self”, co-curated with Tony Lewis and Christina Long, School of the Art Institute of

           Chicago, Chicago, IL


2022 "Routes to Freedom: Shonna Pryor's Speculative Future" by Kerry Cardoza, NewCity

          Magazine, October 18

2022 “Deeper Research and a Politics of Care”, by Kerry Cardoza The Chicago Reader

2022 “Top 5 Weekend Picks” Visualist Chicago, January 27 + February 2

2021 “60-Word Minute: Shonna Pryor” by Chicago Tribune contributing art critic, Lori Waxman for New City Art Magazine

2017 "See It Now", by J.R. The Chicago Tribune 

2014 “Street Style: Frieze Edition”, Refinery29

2007 “Motown Leaders Envision a New Paradise Valley: Enclave to Showcase Black Culture”, The

          Associated Press


2023  “The Soul of Philanthropy” Panel Discussion, ThreeWalls Organization, Chicago

2021 “Visual Art As Journalism”, Women's History Month Talk, Waubonsee Community College, Chicago

2015 “The Great Good Place” publication, Curated by Brandon Alvendia, Threewalls Gallery, Chicago, IL


Auxiliary Board Member, Chicago Council on Science and Technology—2020-current • National Academy of Television Arts & Science Midwest, Awards Judge 2020 • Member Toastmasters (Loop Trustmasters)—2020 • WTTW Community Advisory Board member, Chicago, IL—2015
 • Dorchester Community Garden Project volunteer, Chicago, IL—2015 • Associate Board of Ambassadors, American Cancer Society, Chicago—2015
 • Member of Board of Directors and Fundraising Committee for Creative Arts Center Gallery, Pontiac MI—2007
 • WDET Detroit Public Radio fundraiser and contributing newsletter writer—2007 • Exhibit Committee Member, Detroit Artists Market—2006
 • Member of the Detroit Institute of Arts Speaker's Bureau—2005

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