Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist, and legal worker. In addition to her studio practice, she has been a human rights observer during political uprisings across the country – from the struggle for water rights in Detroit and Flint, MI, to the frontlines of Ferguson, MO and Standing Rock, ND. Her collages and constructed landscapes are informed by these events. Merola lives in Detroit where she facilitates Know-Your-Rights workshops and coordinates legal support for grassroots organizations through the National Lawyers Guild. She is the 2019–2020 Interim Artist In Residence in the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Merola has been awarded studio residencies and fellowships through MacDowell, Kala Institute of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Midwest Environmental Justice Network. Her collaborative projects include Detroit Resists – a digital occupation of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2016), and Oil + Water with filmmaker Kate Levy (2017). She is the recent recipient of a 2019 Society for Photographic Education’s Image Maker Award, and a 2019 Puffin Foundation Project Grant. Merola holds an M.F.A. in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. in photo and film from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been published and exhibited both nationally and abroad.