Meet the Tett’s new community engagement coordinator, Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown

By Hollie Pratt-Campbell

Landing the job of community engagement coordinator at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning was like a dream come true for Shannon Brown.

Everything that Ive done in the past really comes together in this job,she says. It feels great to be utilizing those skills, but also to be meeting lots of people, to be living in Kingston again, to be bringing my excitement and exuberance for the Tett.

Brown was constantly surrounded by both the arts and the business side of the arts while growing up in Kingston. Her father, J. David Brown, was a painter; her mother, Mary Lou Siemonsen, was an interior designer and also owned the business Flowers and Things for 25 years.

Ive always been someone who can combine business and the arts,Brown explains.

After attending high school at KCVI, Brown completed a degree in fine arts and established her own painting practice. She then worked alongside her partner, filmmaker Albert Nerenberg, for 12 years, producing documentary films for broadcasters such as the CBC and the Discovery Channel. Last year, she completed the ACE (Artist in Community Education) program at Queens, and is now also a certified teacher.

Brown joined the Tett team this past summer, and is in her element working at the heart of Kingstons arts scene.

My role is to engage different communities at the Tett,she explains. Im there to facilitate events and projects within the tenant structures. Im working with the tenant groups to create all sorts of opportunities for meeting with the public and for getting to know each other better.

Currently, she is also focused on getting artists into the Tetts creativity studios, as well as creating partnerships with organizations as diverse as Queens and St. Marys of the Lake hospital.

Were looking at different types of partnerships where the arts can be used as a way of creating change, excitement, different ways of thinking and fun.

Brown is excited to have the opportunity to help facilitate other peoples visions and dreams in her job.

Kingston artists were looking for more space, and for a central space to come together, and the Tetts going to do that. Its going to be a hub for the arts in Kingston. Its a centralized location where people can express their creativity, but also show their work at our gallery space amid other artists.

And the Tett has the ability to reach non-artists, too.

When you invest money in a building, it helps to remind the rest of the community that the arts are important,Brown says. The arts are around us everywhere. In the clothes we wear, in the food we eat, in the colours we paint our walls, in the music we hear on the radio. But I think a lot of people dont put that together. So this just brings a better awareness to the arts.

What has she learned so far, in her first few months on the job?

Ive learned that when theres a dream, things really can happen,Brown says. You have a lot of people who have been wanting this for a long time, and its a really good example of dreams coming true.

The Tett is currently looking to rent eight creativity studios. To learn how you can apply for one, please visit the Creativity Studios link here.