Faculty in Focus: Anne Reid ’72 Gallery Reopens with New Director Gwen Shockey ’06

After an 18-month Covid-induced hiatus, Princeton Day School’s Anne Reid ’72 Gallery is reopening with a new solo artist exhibit and new Gallery Director—Gwen Shockey ‘06, also an alumna and new Upper School visual arts studio teacher. Gwen succeeds the School’s first Gallery Director, Jody Erdman '72, who pioneered the Gallery’s track record of exhibits featuring professional, faculty, alumni and student artists.

As a student at PDS, Gwen was a pupil of her just-retired predecessor in the fine arts studio, Jerry Hirniak, whose approach has greatly influenced Gwen. “I loved being a student at PDS, and I am so thrilled to be back on campus in this new role. I took studio art classes with Jerry Hirniak every year in the Upper School. He helped shape my career as an artist and left huge shoes to fill. Jerry was actually the one who told me he was thinking about retiring several years ago and who encouraged me to consider applying for this position. It’s a dream match and I’m thrilled to be at PDS in my new role.”

Although Gwen’s relationship to PDS has changed, her admiration for the institution has stayed the same. She says, “The level of scholarship and passion for learning at PDS on every level—from student to faculty to staff to parent—is so thrilling. Everyone is passionate and eager to be involved on an interdisciplinary level. The students are so curious and motivated. It excites and pushes me to seek and provide learning opportunities at the highest level for them that I can.”

The classrooms at PDS are not just a learning environment, they are a place to form lifelong friendships and professional relationships.

No Man's Land by Gwen Shockey, 2017

No Man's Land, 2017

As a multidisciplinary artist whose work centers around LGBTQ+ activism, Gwen works across a lot of different mediums, though she focused on printmaking at Pratt Institute where she received her MFA in 2017. “For the last seven years, I’ve been working on The Addresses Project. It traces lesbian and queer womxn’s community space and memory in New York City beginning in the early 20th century,” she explains.

Venus Rising by Gwen Shockey, 2019

Venus Rising, 2019

Community is an important theme throughout Gwen’s personal and professional endeavors. She says that the sense of community at PDS is what has inspired her plans for her upcoming year in the classroom: “This school sets an example for how community and learning can be intertwined. When you form intimate connections with peers, faculty and staff based around curiosity, it becomes such a rich relationship. The classrooms at PDS are not just a learning environment, they are a place to form lifelong friendships and professional relationships.”

As Anne Reid ’72 Gallery Director, her approach is based in the affirmation that a community of people can accomplish anything together. “My vision for the gallery is to continue to move it in a contemporary direction. I want to exhibit artists who center their work around political and social activism while working intimately within their own communities. The gallery will open each fall with a solo exhibition,” Gwen explains. “The winter exhibit will be a group show and the spring show will be student, alumni and faculty-based.”

Fall Exhibit Features Anne Gilman 9/8-12/17

The first artist Gwen has booked in the Gallery is Anne Gilman, a Brooklyn-born artist whose work includes large-scale drawing and multi-panel projects. Gwen describes her work as “intimate and beautiful.” The exhibit, which opens on September 8, is titled At the still point of the turning world, and includes drawings and works on paper that will be on view from through December 17.

Currently the gallery is scheduled to begin public hours as of October 4, 2021, and is typically open to the public during school hours throughout the academic year on weekdays when school is in session. Because Covid protocols at PDS may continue to change, exhibition reception/events will be updated at www.pds.org/the-arts/anne-reid-gallery. To schedule a private viewing, please email annereid72gallery@pds.org, and don’t forget to follow @annereid72gallery on instagram!

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