VALDOSTA – Art shows at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts generally don’t go on without the involvement of one man, Bill Shenton.
While it takes a team to host the exhibits, Shenton is usually seen on the floor in the days leading up to opening night preparing galleries.
He is the center’s curator and artistic administrator. He has held this role for 12 years.
The Valdosta native is responsible for coordinating with artists entering shows, ensuring all pieces of artwork are displayed correctly in the galleries and more.
Most recently, he helped prepare Turner’s popular fundraiser, Spring Into Art.
Shenton’s artistic background began in his youth.
“I have always enjoyed drawing,” he said. “I won a few art contests in elementary school, so I understood I had an ability to create art at a young age”
Teresa Middleton, his high school art teacher, taught him how to paint in watercolors, he said.
“By the time I graduated (high school), I knew I wanted to study art,” he said.
A young Shenton went on to win awards in high school and sell commission watercolor pieces, he said.
After graduating from Valdosta City Schools, he attended Valdosta State University before eventually earning a bachelor degree in graphic design from the University of Georgia.
In his early college years, he centered his love of art on oil painting. After being accepted into UGA, he focused on computer-generated work and photography.
Shenton now utilizes his talents to help the Turner Center be successful.
Since May 2009, Bill Shenton has been the man who hangs and arranges the Turner Center’s exhibits.
He has created logos and images for Turner’s events and publications, according to a September 2014 The Valdosta Daily Times report. He has applied the ideas of page design to arranging paintings, drawings and photographs along the center’s walls, the report stated.
“Hanging a show is an aspect of graphic design,” Shenton said in a past interview. “You must consider color, shape, size and scheme.”
He has his hands in events like the center’s DrawProject, Youth Art Showcase and Empty Bowls. He also coordinates individual artists’ showcases.
Through the years, Shenton has had to mount as many as 538 pieces for Turner’s Spring Into Art exhibition, according to an April 2016 report in The Times. This year, he found space for 322 pieces.
As a person walks through the galleries to view the work of regional artists, he or she is also observing the work of Shenton.