Community Engagement Message from the Executive Director

Who Is Barnum to YOU?!  Poet, Artist, Inspiration, Community Treasure: Shanna T. Melton

If you’re a follower of the Barnum Museum YouTube program, Who Is Barnum to YOU?!  Welcome back!  If you haven’t started following yet, we invite you to join and subscribe for weekly posts!

As the history, influence and inspiration of ‘Barnum’ continues to touch countless lives, we’re excited to bring you vast perspectives about how Barnum has impacted so many people, and talk about the ‘common thread’ that binds and entwines life experiences, goals and dreams.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Shanna T. Melton:

Shanna Melton Banner Image

The Barnum Museum is blessed to be part of an extraordinary community of artists and innovators, who lovingly share their gifts, talents, skills and visions for a greater and kinder tomorrow.  Shanna Melton is truly one of the Museum’s dearest friends. In November, 2019, the Barnum Museum opened our first community artist exhibition, Her Dragons Fly, a solo exhibit of Shanna’s work.  It was glorious, filling the gallery space with vibrant color and emotion.  We were thrilled to extend its presentation as it was enormously popular attracting visitors throughout the state and beyond.  Although we were sorrowful to see the exhibition finally close, we were excited about our new exhibition rotation schedule, and a new show was coming.  Alas.  COVID-19.

We are so grateful to Shanna for her generosity and warm heart, and we thought we’d continue to share her story through Who Is Barnum to YOU?!

Acknowledged as the 2018 Arts Hero by the State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, Shanna T. Melton is an award winning poet, painter, art educator and art consultant from Bridgeport, CT.

In 2011, Shanna was presented with the Woman to Know Award from the State of Connecticut through Bridgeport’s Black Pride.  This recognition is presented to inspirational people who create positive change in their communities and who are guided by the visions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Shanna has most recently been the honored recipient of the Arts and Cultural Empowerment Award from The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. She was formerly nominated to represent the State of Connecticut as Poet Laureate.

Shanna curates many poetry and writer’s events that expose local and international artistry to the Bridgeport Community.  Her Writer’s Group programs are sponsored by Bridgeport’s City Lights Gallery, and Shanna is the Art Ambassador for The Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community.  Shanna travels throughout the United States and Canada sharing her poetry, artworks and stories with diverse audiences, encouraging a global network of artists to continue to find inspiration to grow and create.

Visit to learn more about Shanna and stay up to date on upcoming events.

Stay Safe, Stay Strong!

Kathy Maher
Executive Director,
Barnum Museum

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