Born: 1978, Monroe, LA 
Vitus Shell is a mixed-media collage painter born in Monroe, LA, where he lives and works.

His work is geared toward the black experience, giving agency to people from this community through powerful images deconstructing, sampling, and remixing identity, civil rights, and contemporary black culture. He received a BFA from Memphis College of Art, 2000 and an MFA from the University of Mississippi, 2008.

Vitus Shell has been in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Mass MoCA, Joan Mitchell Center, Skowhegan School of Art, and Masur Museum of Art. To date, he has accumulated an impressive list of achievements, some of which include: participating in exhibits at universities, museums, and private galleries across the country including The McKenna Museum of African American Art, Stephen F. Austin University, Miami University, Oxford, OH ; painted murals for the National Civil Rights Museum’s NBA Pioneers exhibit, Indianola City Pool in Indianola, MS, Union Parish Elementary School in Farmerville, LA; and being commissioned to do public art by the Memphis UrbanArt Commission. Shell has received numerous grants including the Joan Mitchell MFA Award. 

As of 2020, Vitus Shell is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Louisiana Tech University.

Vitus Shell



MFA 2008 University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. 

BFA 2000 Memphis College of Art. 

Apprenticeship 1999 Brenda Joysmith, Memphis, TN.

Exhibition Record 

Art Center Sarasota, FL

Something to Say,
Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, ML.

Many Rooms: The South Got Something to Say, Masur Museum, Monroe, LA“Still”, Reynolds Ryan Art Gallery, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA.

“A Lil Ratchet”, The CMPLX, Memphis, TNFigurative Forms, Southside Gallery, Oxford, MS

Coping Mechanisms, Bridge Gallery, Curated by Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, Columbus, OH

Birds Fly South,
5 Points Art Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

Thought at Work, Bry Hall, University of Louisiana, Monroe, LA

Figurative Impulse, Pellissippi State Community College, Curated by Herb Reith, Knoxville, TN

New Age Nostalgia, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN


Bout it bout it: The Political Power of Just Being
, Hilliard University Art Museum, 
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 

Now We Here: The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance, Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Fond du Lac, WI 

Better Days, (solo) Wilson Hall Gallery, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Huntsville, AL

4Eva is a Mighty Long Time, Tom Thomas Gallery, Indiana University East, Richmond, IN 

“The Dedication: An Exploration of a People”, (solo) Bethea Gallery, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA.


Louisiana Contemporary Presented by The Helis Foundation, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, Juror: Shantrelle Lewis, Independent Curator. Researcher. Author. Filmmaker. 

4th Louisiana Biennial: National Juried Exhibition, Louisiana Tech University, Juror: Rachel Cook, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX. 

“Elevator Music #3- Studio Sounds”,
Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ, Curator: Dahlia Elsayed. 

“Must Be Two Sides: The Dualities of the Black Experience”, (solo) The McKenna Museum of African American Art, New Orleans, LA. 

“Assembled” presented by ArtsMemphis, The Collaboration Part, Memphis, TN. 

“Too Hot”,
Todd Art Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.

“Turnt Up to Da Max”
(solo) Joan Mitchell Studio Gallery, New Orleans, LA. 

“Outside In”
, Masur Museum, Monroe, LA, Curator: Benjamin Hickey. 

The Cue Art Foundation presents An Exhibition of Works by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, 2007 MFA Grant Recipients, New York City. 

“Bring That Beat Back: The Sound of the Drums, the Streets and the Heart” (Thesis Show), Southside Gallery, Oxford, MS. 

“Class of 07”,
Lantana Projects, Memphis, TN, Curator: Ian and Elizabeth Lemmons. 2006 

North American Graduate Art Survey, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Juror: Diane Mullins, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN. 

“Socially Handicap”, (solo)Tennessee Art Commission Gallery, Nashville, TN. 

7th Annual Young Painters Competition, Miami University, Oxford, OH, Juror: Sue Taylor, Associate Professor, Portland State University, Portland, OR. 

48th Annual Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR, Juror: Roger Shimomura, Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas. 

New Power Generation 2005, Hampton University, Hampton, VA, Marianetta Porter, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. 

Teaching Experience 

2020 - 22
Visiting Assistant Professor, Louisiana Tech University, Fall/Winter/Spring 2020-22 
(Instructor of Records) 2 Design, Beginning & Advanced Drawing, Junior Portfolio 

2016 - 18
Adjunct Instructor, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Fall 2018 (Instructor of Records) Beginning & Advanced Drawing, Intermediate & Advanced Painting, Research Problems

Adjunct Professor, Grambling State University, Spring/Fall 2012 (Instructor of Records) Visual & Performing Arts, Drawing I & II, Art Appreciation 

Professional Experience 

Advisor, A.I.R. Studio Paducah, KY.Panelist, Cultural District, Division of the Arts,
Louisiana Office of Cultural Development.

Juror, Union Arts Council, Competitive Art Exhibition , Farmsville, LA.

Juror, North Central Louisiana Art Council, Peach Art Exhibit, Ruston, LA.

Lead Artist, BLM Letter Project, Richwood, LA.

Muralist, “Long Live GODj Star”, The Hub Monroe.

President, The Black Creative Circle of North Louisiana.

Commissioned Artist, Children’s Hero Award, Children’s Bureau of New Orleans Muralist, City of Senatobia, MS.

Visiting Artist, Lincoln Parish Art Workshop, North Central Louisiana Art Council, Ruston, LA.

Commissioned Artist, Children’s Hero Award, Children’s Bureau of New Orleans.

Board Member, Downtown Monroe Association, Monroe, LA.

Board Member, Downtown Monroe Association, Monroe, LA. 

Board Member, Downtown Arts Alliance, Monroe, LA. 

Adjunct Instructor, University of Louisiana at Monroe, LA. 

Muralist, Community Soup Kitchen, Monroe, LA. 

Exhibiting Artist, “The Children are Our Future”, Outside Gallery, Monroe, LA. 

Muralist, “Protect Her”, The Moonpie Project curated by Michael Roy, Memphis, TN.

Muralist, Union Parish Elementary School, Farmerville, LA. 2015 Muralist, Indianola City Pool, Indianola, MS. 

Muralist, Public/ART/ists Part 3, Urban Art Commission, Memphis, TN. 

Visiting Artist, 16th Annual Peoplehood Parade, Spiral Q, Philadephia, PA. 

Co-Curator, “Well Worn Truths,” (Group exhibition) Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA. 

Joan Mitchell Visual Arts Scholar, Roots Week, 39th Annual Meeting & Artists’ Retreat, Alternate Roots, Arden, NC. 

Member, Exhibition Committee, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA. 

Visiting Artist, Tougaloo Art Colony, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS. 

2003 - 2011
Vice President, NIA, Artist Collective.

CommissionedArtists, Coaster Project, ArtsMemphis 2009-2010 Bravo Season Kick Off, Hannah Davis Gallery, Memphis,TN

Curator, Salon for Memphis’ Arts Creators, On The Street Gallery, MCA, Memphis, TN

Teacher’s Assistant, University of Mississippi, Fall 2005-06, Art 101.

Co- Curator, Salon for Memphis’ Arts Creators, On The Street Gallery, MCA, Memphis, TN. Artist in Residence, Mitchell High School, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN 

Artist in Residence, Westwood High School, Memphis College of Art, Memphis,TN 

Muralist, "They Cleared the Lane: African American Basketball Pioneers Exhibition" Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN.

Team Leader, Soulville Gateway Moral Project, Urban Art Commission, Memphis, TN. Installation Assistant, "Everywhere, Simultaneously, Beautifully" Lester Julian Merriweather, ArtLab Gallery, University of Memphis, Memphis,TN 

Juror, National Civil Rights Museum Youth Poster Contest. 

Grants, Fellowships & Residencies 

The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, New Berlin, NY (Residency)

Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN. (Residency) 
Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO. (Residency) 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood, FL. (Residency) 

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE. (Residency) 

Mass MOCA, North, Adams, MA. (Residency) 

New American Paintings, No. 130, South Issue 

Joan Mitchell Foundation, New Orleans, LA. (Residency) 

Visual Arts scholarship, Joan Mitchell Visual Arts Scholar, Alternate Roots. 2008 Skowhegan School of Art, Skowhegan, ME. (Residency) 

Joan Mitchell Foundation, MFA Grant.



Gannon, Patricia. “Artist Vitus Shell is a force for change.” The Acadiana Advocate, December 31 

Moore, Tash. “Something The Folks Down Home Can Connect With.” Black Art in America. 

Kemp, John, Picturing the Black Experience, Louisiana Life, May-June 2017 New American Paintings, No. 130, Southern Issue 

Devault, Michael, Future Histories, BayouLife Magazine, February 

Causey, Kaleb, Local artist hopes to make big impact with his work, The News Star, August 22 

Harris, Kasimu, Vitus Shell: Slimcrowism,, May 22 

McAdams, Alex, Art student makes bold statements, The Daily Mississippian, Feb 29 2006

Maddox, David, Brown Paper Bag Test, Nashville Scene, June 8 

Henry, Wiley, Method to the Message. Tri State Defender

^ Top