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Shanna takes over at BAC

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Shanna Hollis is the new chair of the Bermuda Arts Council (Photograph by Kelon Phillips)

Shanna Hollis is the new face of the Bermuda Arts Council.

She is thrilled to have the opportunity to give back – the grant she received from the BAC in 2014 opened a path for her as an art teacher and an entrepreneur.

Shanna Hollis Designs offers consulting, branding, graphic design and other services; the company promotes art and design as “the strongest way to share backgrounds, experiences, emotions, history, language, memories, culture and stories”.

She was named BAC chair in February, only 13 months after she joined the government board.

“I was put forward by the previous chair [Jennifer Phillips] and the director of culture [Kim Dismont-Robinson] last year. They were really interested in having somebody younger as chair just so that I could bring in new energy, new ideas, and then possibly be in that role for a longer amount of time.

“I'm interested to see what more the Arts Council can do in regards to education, in regards to community, as I go along and learn the ropes.”

The Arts Council meets once a month. It was not too great a disruption to Ms Hollis’s schedule, which is kept busy with her own art and the demands of her company. Reducing her hours as a teacher at Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation helped.

“I think a lot of it is just organisation and scheduling,” she said. “The time commitment isn't too strenuous outside of the meetings, so I definitely thought it was something I could take on.”

As a bonus the council was a good fit for her as an artist.

“A lot of my artwork is about community so I figured the Arts Council would be a great way to get my foot into the arts community, a little bit deeper.

“But also, it was really important to me to be able to understand how the Arts Council runs, how it supports creators, because they supported me when I was younger. So to be in that space is really important for me, just so that I can also have a hand in that.”

Ms Hollis was also excited about the “diverse pool of talents” that represent the various art disciplines Bermudians are in.

“So, for example, Canjelae Taylor is one of our new Council members and her speciality would be the entertainment industry, singing. We also have Courtney Lopes whose speciality is dance. So it’s different people on the council who are in different sectors, different pockets of creatives.”

Shanna Hollis is the new chair of the Bermuda Arts Council (Photograph by Kelon Phillips)

In keeping with that, she is intentional about how she networks to increase her library of Bermudian creatives here and abroad.

“I do see young artists especially, that are looking to pursue art as a career and so with that happening and the arts being more supported in Bermuda, our community is getting a lot stronger. It’s not as hard to connect with artists as it was before and obviously attending gallery shows and just networking helps.”

She is thrilled to be a part of an organisation that is helping art and artists “pursue their dreams”.

“They have so many creative ideas. There is so much that they want to bring into fruition – different art projects especially, that benefit the community. And what the Arts Council does is allow people to be able to do that.”

Bermuda’s artists are honoured annually with awards given by the Arts Council. Financial grants are also given to help students pursue their goals.

“Different students, young and old, applicants of all ages, can apply. And then what we also do is have individual and organisational grants that we give out [to people doing] personal projects that would also benefit the community – someone might want to do a documentary about the impact of soca on Bermuda, for example.

“Since I’ve been there we’ve funded people such as [the artist] Gherdai Hassell. So different people that have so much to share about Bermuda, they come and they apply for funding to be able to make those dreams come alive.”

Look for Bermuda Arts Council on Facebook. For more information or to apply for scholarships search for Bermuda Arts Council under culture.bm or e-mail artscouncil@gov.bm. For more on Shanna Hollis Designs visit www.shannahollis.com

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Published March 23, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated March 24, 2023 at 8:06 am)

Shanna takes over at BAC

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