KELLY SHERMAN is an artist and strategy consultant. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in 2002. Her artwork resides in numerous private and public collections, such as the Institute of Contemporary Art | Boston, where she was a recipient of their Foster Prize. Her work can be viewed at the Barbara Krakow Gallery and Center Street Studio.
Kelly is also an innovation and strategy consultant with experience in non-profits, start-ups, and Fortune 500 companies. She helps organizations identify new opportunities, create meaningful change, and position themselves for sustainable growth. She also works with organizations and their staff to help grow their internal capacity for innovation, as well as articulate meaningful innovation and growth strategies. As the co-founder of a start-up, she was a finalist in MassChallenge, the world’s largest start-up accelerator program.
Passionate about art, design, and education, she is an enthusiastic member of MassArt's Alumni Leadership Council and a trustee of the BSA Foundation. She has delivered numerous lectures and workshops on art, innovation, and design thinking at a range of institutions from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Institute of Contemporary Art, to Harvard University and the Darden School of Business.
My work explores the fundamental subjects of life—identity, family, love, success, happiness, desire, community, violence, illness, loss—in an attempt to speak to what is universally meaningful and true. I find these topics most moving when they are expressed through humble forms and with the eloquence that material, language, and craft have the extraordinary ability to confer.
Many of my projects use unassuming objects, materials or actions to describe essential aspects of our shared humanity. Stories of family tension are told through seating arrangements, isolation and loneliness through images of showroom sofas, and systemic violence through the recreation of a physical fight. Other projects expose how mundane objects and places carry our personal histories and attachments. A ceramic mug serves as a memento of a favorite vacation, a partner’s commitment, or a young child lost to illness. Similarly, a public park functions as a symbol for one person’s belief in equality or another’s history with homelessness, or it may simply hold significance as a comfortable place to read the Sunday paper. I am interested in this capacity of objects and places to trigger diverse and personal responses that have the potential for profound depth and emotion.
To develop my ideas and content, I often rely on a research process that is inspired by ethnography and design research, and mine the stories of individuals from the general public as frequently as my own. I utilize surveys, as well as in-depth one-on-one interviews for my various research goals: for direction and inspiration, to gain authority on a foreign topic, or to create content collaboratively.
My artwork is a personal investigation of what I sense matters in life. To paraphrase John Steinbeck, I am searching for something that will seem like truth to me, that principle which keys us deeply into the pattern of all life: the relations of things, one to another.
– July 2017