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Cobber Grad Heads Across the Pond to Continue Her Education

Natalie Shanoff ’21 in her cap and gown on Commencement day.

As spring turns to summer, Concordia graduates turn toward fall in anticipation, ready to take their next steps into the world. For Natalie Shanoff ’21, those steps will include a passport and plane ticket. Shanoff studied studio art, heritage and museum studies, and art history while at Concordia. She will attend the prestigious Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London for a master’s degree in contemporary art.

While abroad her junior year, Shanoff backpacked through Europe, eventually arriving in London where she arranged a tour of the Sotheby Institute.

“It was clear that I had been backpacking for a month and a half,” Shanoff joked.

Despite her disheveled appearance, she arrived to a warm welcome and chatted with her tour guides for more than three hours. Almost instantly, Shanoff felt a connection to Sotheby’s integration of multiculturalism and business within the art community.

“Becoming more globally and culturally conscious are not only personal goals but are also very important to my future career in art,” she said.

Shanoff even got to meet one of her favorite authors when she discovered that Iain Robertson, exhibitions officer for the Royal Institute of British Architects, was a professor at Sotheby’s.

“I knew I would fit in well,” Shanoff said. 

Applying to the master’s program at Sotheby’s requires art critiques, essays, cover letters, and a specified resume. Shanoff used both the Career Center and the Center for Student Success to help in her preparation.

“Katie Burington was instrumental in helping me with the application process,” she said. 

Burington works as a career coach in the Concordia Career Center. The staff help students and alumni with their resumes, conduct mock interviews, and offer networking opportunities.

During her time at Concordia, Shanoff worked closely with many faculty in the art department, including Dr. Susan Lee.

“I would say that Nat is one of the hardest working students I have ever taught,” Lee said. “She possesses all the qualities that guarantee her success in her chosen path.”

While gearing up to attend Sotheby’s Institute, Shanoff was still making her mark on the local art community, specifically in the Cyrus M. Running Gallery. As assistant director, she worked directly on the organizational side of things.

“It really was a great experience for me to learn about the happenings behind the scenes of exhibitions and community outreach,” she said.

Christian Mortenson, director of the gallery, appreciated her help immensely.

“Honestly, this year would have been much more difficult without Natalie,” he said. “While my role is to help guide the assistant director in these tasks, Natalie was such a quick study and had a keen eye for layout so I knew that ‘checking’ her work would be mostly a formality.”

Shanoff’s eye for detail paid off when she was awarded the Charles and Vicki Hartz Award at the 2021 senior art show.