Through all its changes over the years, one fact has remained true of Mill Valley: the person sitting next to you at Peet’s or behind you in line at the Market likely has one heck of a back story.

That is definitely true of longtime local fixture Shane Kennedy, one of the most well regarded soccer coaches in Marin and an artist whose career has spanned decades and myriad mediums, including exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Memphis and San Francisco.

Kennedy showcases his work, including paintings and mixed media pieces featuring found objects, throughout January at the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (85 Throckmorton, with a wine reception on January 5 (6–8pm) as part of the Mill Valley Arts Commission‘s First Tuesday Artwalk.

The monthly celebration of local art includes a host of venues, including the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Seager Gray Gallery, the Mill Valley Public Library, Zener Schon Contemporary Art, Gelateria Noci, Julie Tuton Boutique, Terrestra, the Depot Bookstore & Café, City Hall, Famous4 and the Mill Valley Community Center, Seager Gray Gallery and the Throckmorton Theatre. Receptions at each venue are Tuesday from 6–8pm. First Tuesday Artwalk Guide with venues and a map.

Kennedy has lived in Mill Valley for nearly three decades, having moved here from New York in 1988. The decade-plus prior to that cross-country relocation found Kennedy immersed in the “art furniture” movement in 1980s New York City, where his work under the name Furniture Club blended simple shapes with dyed concrete and steel and was the subject of a New York Times’ feature story in 1984.

But it was the decade prior that saw Kennedy perfecting a different art: preventing some of the world’s best soccer players from scoring goals on him. A state champion goalkeeper at Staples High School in Westport, Ct. in 1972, Kennedy went on to win a national championship as a team captain at NCAA Div. III Babson College in 1975. He set an NCAA career record for shutouts at Babson and was named Soccer America’s All-Collegiate Most Valuable Player.

In 1976, Kennedy was drafted by the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League whose roster then included Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, and legendary American goalie Shep Messing. Despite his success as an artist, Kennedy is perhaps best known in the Bay Area as a go-to coach for aspiring goalkeepers.

Whether it’s his own Dominate the Box teaching school, as head girls soccer coach at Tam High or as assistant men’s coach at Dominican University, Kennedy has had a hand in shaping some of the best young goalkeepers to come out of Marin for years.

When he relocated to the Bay Area, Kennedy scratched his artistic itch by turning to junkyards, dumpsters and flea markets, giving an array of found objects a second life through his creations, from welded masks and totems to constructions and collages.

“Working quickly and without plan,” Kennedy says he “looks for moments to start and stop and capture the unexpected.”

The 411: Shane Kennedy exhibits his artwork at the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, 85 Throckmorton Avenue, throughout June. The First Tuesday Artwalk receptions are Tuesday, June 2, 6–8pm. First Tuesday Artwalk Guide with venues and a map.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!