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ULM Visual and Performing Arts hires Vitus Shell as assistant professor of art in illustration

Published May 30, 2024


Photo Credit: Michaela Dorsey

MONROE, LA - The University of Louisiana Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) is proud to announce the appointment of Vitus Shell as assistant professor of art in illustration.  Shell is a mixed-media artist born in Monroe, LA. His works are geared toward the Black experience, giving agency to people from the Monroe community through powerful images of deconstructing, sampling, and remixing identity, civil rights, and contemporary Black culture.

In the field of illustration, Mr. Shell has created and exhibited works in-residence for multiple universities across the country, and in just as many art galleries nationwide, including the Bernis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha), Art on 38 (Philadelphia), the Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans), Mass MoCA (Massachusetts), and the Sam and Adele Golden Gallery (New York). Shell has also done illustrative work for the National Civil Rights Museum’s NBA Pioneers exhibit and South Main Art Festival (Memphis). His illustrations are published in Southwest Review Journal (Dallas) and Dillard Today (New Orleans). Shell has also received numerous grants including the Joan Mitchell MFA Award.

“Vitus brings a unique combination of experiences and an interdisciplinary approach to art making and practice,” said Megan Smith, assistant professor and Art Program Coordinator.

“We are delighted to welcome Vitus Shell to our esteemed faculty as our new art professor,” said Dr. Nicholas Bratcher, Director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) at ULM. “Vitus brings a wealth of knowledge, a unique perspective, and a proven track record of excellence in both artistic practice and academic instruction. With his innovative approach to illustration and contemporary art and a strong commitment to fostering creativity and creative thinking, Vitus is poised to inspire and elevate our students’ artistic endeavors. This aligns with my own vision for VAPA and for our students,” added Bratcher.

In addition to teaching, part of Vitus’s new role will be to spearhead a new concentration in illustration; including new courses surrounding traditional and digital illustration, stop motion design, character design, and color theory.  “ULM is my hometown university, and one of my goals is to help grow the local art community. I believe my experience can assist VAPA’s initiative and, in turn, help the students gain new artistic perspectives and encourage them to participate in more activities in the larger art community,” said Mr. Shell.

Vitus Shell holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from Memphis College of Art and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from the University of Mississippi and has held teaching positions at Grambling State University and, most recently, Louisiana Tech University.