Montserrat College of Art Welcomes New Leadership Staff

July 28, 2021

Three new accomplished individuals have recently been added to the leadership in key areas at Montserrat College of Art. 

Lynne Cooney Ph.D. has been appointed the Director of Exhibitions and Galleries. She recently received her PhD from Boston University where she taught in the graduate Curatorial Studies program and was the director of the art galleries. Her connections to the Boston art scene will be an incredible asset to Montserrat.  

Cooney is a curator, art historian, and educator with more than 15 years of curatorial experience working in art institutions and cultural non-profit organizations. She is the former Artistic Director and chief curator of the Boston University Art Galleries where she curated numerous group and solo exhibitions for the Stone Gallery and the 808 Gallery, a 16,000 square foot former automobile showroom, including solo projects by the artists Willie Cole, Raul Gonzalez, Geoffrey Chadsey, Alexandria Smith, and Sheila Pree Bright.

She received her M.A./Ph.D. in art history from the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Boston University. Her doctoral research focused on collection and exhibition practices in South Africa in relationship to colonial histories and decolonization theories. She was the recipient of a U.S. Student Fulbright Fellowship to South Africa in 2014-2015.

Cooney said, “In my previous work as a curator and art historian, I have always taken an interdisciplinary approach to exhibition-making that is artist and student centered. In my new role at Montserrat, I am hoping to create an ambitious and accessible exhibition program that connects more deeply with student learning and professional development as well as one that is exciting for visitors from the North Shore, Greater Boston, and beyond. I am particularly interested in exploring the boundaries of the different gallery spaces on campus through a range of projects, showing students the different ways art can be interpreted and presented.”

The College has hired a full-time, 12-month counselor to increase the capacity of counseling services to Montserrat students. In addition to counseling services for students, the Counseling Office will offer new programs for the campus community focusing on education, wellness and student success. 

Elisabeth Reickert will be joining the college’s Student Affairs department as Director of Counseling. She holds a BFA in Painting from Montserrat and an MA in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University. A Licensed Mental Health Counselor, she has spent the last decade as a school adjustment counselor at Salem Academy Charter School and has diverse experience in a variety of acute residential settings with adolescents and young adults. In addition to her clinical practice, Elisabeth has worked as a muralist for MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, and is currently developing her new passion for weaving and the fiber arts. 

“An artist at heart, I see counseling as a uniquely creative process, she said. “Collaborative and strengths-focused, I draw from an eclectic mix of therapeutic practices to foster students’ growth toward wellness, independence, and the realization of their goals. I know Montserrat to be a place that empowers authentic student voices, facilitates their individual skills and passions, and inspires meaningful contributions to the broader community. I share Montserrat’s mission because I was shaped by it as an artist, clinician, and social activist. I look forward to contributing to our shared vision as director of counseling.”

Lisa Shawney is joining Montserrat College of Art as the Dean of Finance and Administration bringing over 25 years of experience in higher education.  Most recently she served as the Vice President for Finance and Administration at Granite State College in New Hampshire overseeing the College’s administrative functions and two non-credit academic programs. Prior to that, she served as the Accounting Manager responsible for general accounting for the University System of New Hampshire.  Early in her career she held accounting positions with both UNITIL Service Corp. and The Timberland Company.

One of Lisa’s passions is giving back to her community through volunteerism.  She is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC) in Portsmouth, NH.  She is also the past chair and treasurer for New Hampshire Women in Higher Education Leadership (NHWHEL) an organization focused on empowering women to advance their career in higher education, and the past vice chair for Leadership Seacoast, a program that fosters civic engagement as a catalyst for change in the communities in the Seacoast of New Hampshire.  Lisa holds an MBA from Plymouth State University and is also a Certified Management Accountant.  

In her free time. Lisa loves to travel and enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family.  She also coaches youth softball, teaching girls the importance of being part of a team and that winning isn’t just about the final score.  She and her family reside in beautiful Portsmouth, NH.