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Meet Pam Shanley: Teacher & Facilities Manager

“Without art I would be a bit empty, without a core to make connections in my life,” says Pam Shanley, Facilities Manager at ACA. Pam has been a part of ACA since September of 1999 when she was hired as the Facilities Manager, a job that has changed and expanded drastically over the years. At the beginning of her time at ACA, Pam’s role included taking on tasks that other faculty members felt she could aid with. Now, Pam is the director of the Arlington Open Studios, manages ACA’s Gibbs Gallery and Tuft Street Gallery, as well as managing all theater events. Those who take part in ACA in any facet will more than likely run into Pam as she constantly runs throughout the building to make sure each class goes smoothly.

Red Landscape by Pam Shanley

While Pam generally works “behind the scenes,” perfecting each classroom, organizing supplies, and adhering to teacher’s requests for classes, her more artful side comes out as a teacher, where she is beloved by her students for her warm and loving teaching style. Pam teaches clay workshops and general art studios for children. “[ACA is] the perfect community for me – teaching, working with other artists,” she says.

Pam’s artistry is not limited to the confines of ACA – she has been immersed in art since her childhood. She has a strong belief in the power of art making, in which she explains, “It is the vehicle that helps to connect a part of me that cannot be explained in words – just raw emotions. To me, color, shape, and texture convey a feeling that brings the idea of life. I think for some people it is a safe way to express dark or scary things that have happened to them.” This idea is not limited to just adults – Pam believes art can be a tool for all ages.

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