Vermont Arts Council

Vermont Made Episode 3: Finding the Shadow Self with Photographer Shanta Lee Gander

“Yes, it’s my art, but it becomes a collaboration when you involve another person, even another thing, actually. I would say in an abandoned place, it has to let you in.” —Shanta Lee Gander


In this episode of Vermont Made, Shanta Lee Gander shares how she worked with local women to tap into the lesser-celebrated aspects of the sacred feminine for her photography series, Dark Goddess.

Find details on Shanta’s Dark Goddess exhibit at Southern Vermont Arts Center, on view until Sept. 26, 2021. You can also join Shanta for a virtual artist talk on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcast players.

Download a transcript of this episode (PDF).

“Think about pushing your own boundaries. For me, this exhibition and a lot of my work is about pushing my own boundaries too, which is maybe selfish—but pushing my boundaries of skill, because you always have to grow your skill, and also pushing boundaries of what we think we know, what we presume, what we assume.”

Shanta Lee Gander is a multidisciplinary artist and writer who explores a range of genres.  Her work has been featured in PRISM, ITERANT Literary Magazine, Palette Poetry, BLAVITY, DAME Magazine, The Crisis Magazine, Rebelle Society, on the Ms. Magazine Blog as one of their writers, and many other places.  Shanta Lee’s photojournalism and art reviews have been featured on Vermont Public Radio and her investigative reporting has been in The Commons weekly newspaper covering Windham County,VT. Shanta Lee is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and was named as Diode Editions’ full-length book contest winner for her debut poetry compilation, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues which has received an honorable mention for the Sheila Margaret Motton prize and has been reviewed by the  Poetry Foundation (written by Ryo Yamaguchi), Seven Days (written by Skye Jackson), and Diana Whitney’s review in the Kenyon Review.  Her contributing work on investigative journalism pieces for The Commons received a few New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards. 

Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c.1730-1821), considered the first known African-American poet in English literature, as a member of the Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, and she is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to their board of directors. Shanta Lee has been working to establish Vermont’s first historic marker recognizing the contribution of the Princes in 2021. Her latest photography exhibition, Dark Goddess, explores other aspects of the goddess and was awarded a solo show at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Shanta Lee has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MBA from the University of Hartford, and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College.

Explore more of Shanta’s photography and writing—including her new book of poetry, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA—at