Through all its changes over the years, one fact has remained true of Mill Valley: the person sitting next to you at Equator or behind you in line at MV 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. Throughout February, Kennedy is showcasing his latest batch of collages, or art made by grouping found or unrelated objects, to the Mill Valley Chamber (85 Throckmorton, with a wine reception on Feb. 5 (5:30-7:30pm) as part of the Mill Valley Arts Commission‘s First Tuesday Artwalk.

Exactly how Kennedy creates his pieces is a window into Kennedy’s character. “Working quickly and without a plan,” he says with a laugh in explaining his process. “I look for moments to start and stop and capture the unexpected.”

Kennedy has lived in Mill Valley for more than 30 years, 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. 

The 411Shane Kennedy exhibits his artwork at the Mill Valley Chamber, 85 Throckmorton Avenue, throughout February. The First Tuesday Artwalk receptions are Tuesday, Feb. 5, 5:30-7:30pm. First Tuesday Artwalk Guide with venues.

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