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Victor Shanchuk Jr.

Victor Shanchuk Jr.

(b. 1940)
Born: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Victor Shanchuk, Jr. is a Living Legacy Artist at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.


Victor Shanchuk, Jr., is a photographer, painter, and art educator who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.  After receiving a B.S. in art education from SUNY College for Teachers at Buffalo in 1961, he served in the military from 1964 to 1968, then returned to the renamed State University College at Buffalo for an M.S. in the same subject in 1971. He pursued post-graduate studies at the institution from 1972 to 1978.

His early influences were diverse, ranging from Seurat to Rothko and Pollock. Instructors who helped to shape his aesthetic include Roland Wise, George O’Connell, Oscar Bailey, and Wally Green, while newspaper critic Trevor Thomas provided an alternative perspective. Artist friends Wes Olmsted and Ken Peterson  contributed to an ongoing discussion as well.

Shanchuk taught art in public schools in Buffalo from 1961 until his retirement in 1997. During the same period he worked as a lecturer, instructor, and adjunct professor at colleges including State University College at Buffalo, Canisius, SUNY at Buffalo, Villa Maria, and D’Youville, as well as the Albright Knox Art Gallery and Nichols Summer School. Shanchuk’s teaching philosophy was simple: What he learned, he taught. His primary goal was to change the way his students saw the world, and his oft-repeated motto was “Art is life and life is art.”

He was a founding member of the performance group MAP, or Multi-Arts Performers, which was active from 1979 through the mid-1980s. The ensemble incorporated music, dance, theater, and Shanchuk’s own contribution, projections through which the dancers moved. Among other venues, MAP presented its work at Hallwalls and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Shanchuk has also been involved with such Western New York organizations and events as Artists Gallery (chairperson, 1985-90), AAO Gallery (curator of exhibitions/designer, 1983-87), the Buffalo Society of Artists (1992-93), the Allentown Art Festival (juror, 1994), the Elmwood Festival of the Arts (juror, 2001), and the Burchfield Penney Art Center (volunteer curator, tour leader, and other positions, 2001-2012).

As a painter and experimental photographer, Shanchuk has exhibited at many arts organizations, including the Burchfield Penney Art Center, CEPA, Hallwalls, the Clary-Miner Gallery, Artists Gallery, Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Big Orbit, and Art Dialogue (all in Buffalo, N.Y.); the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.; and the Boca Museum of Art in Florida. He created “Impression Buffalo” for the Herd About Buffalo public art project (2000) and “Roosevelt Rides Again” for the Art on Wheels public art project (2003).

Victor Shanchuk has been designated a “Living Legacy” by the Burchfield Penney Art Center.