Ulster County Executive's Arts Awards 2023

Susan Shaw


Susan Shaw was an art history major at Vassar College. After graduating, she worked as a slide librarian in the art department at Stanford University and then held a similar position at New York University. But her life soon took a different direction. “I became a lawyer and I did that for my entire career,” she says. But approximately 35 years later, after retiring as a law clerk at the State Supreme Court in Kingston, Susan returned to her first love. 

For the past eight years, Susan has worked as a volunteer at the Dorsky Art Museum at SUNY New Paltz.  “It’s been such a pleasure; I love coming here. It’s the best part of my week,” she says.

For her efforts, Susan was named the recipient of the Ulster County Executive’s Arts Award for a Volunteer. “I’m so honored,” she says. 

Susan generally works at the museum three afternoons a week, although there are many occasions where she puts in more time, sometimes working on her computer at home. Managing the online collection, Susan uploads objects onto the computer and will write about the artists and the time period. “But I’ll do whatever anyone needs,” she says. “I write for the website, I proofread, I stuff envelopes—whatever will help.”

Susan became well known around the museum, and online, for writing the popular “Friday Finds” section of the museum’s website. 

A New Paltz resident who also took up botanical drawing after her retirement, Susan wants everyone to know that the Dorsky is a “hidden gem” that is well worth a visit. “It has a collection of more than 7,000 objects; it starts with prehistoric objects and goes right up to very recent things,” she says. “Sculpture and painting, paper, videos, textiles and anthropological objects. It really has everything.”

Profiles Designed and Developed by: