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Dixie Sheridan Photography
artists and writers
news and press
The Heart of Dixie
Lawton Constitution
Lawton Oklahoma, April 15, 2012

Lincoln Center Acquires
Sheridan's Photo Archive

In Print: National & International

What Has Been Said
About Sheridan's Work

Lawton Constitution


by Charles Clark

Lawton Constitution
        Dixie Sheridan has a New York address. Her midtown Manhattan apartment is a half a block from 7th Avenue, a block and a half from Broadway, and a beautiful spring day's walk from the Theatre District. Not a bad location for a photographer who developed a fondness for theater photography.
        But, she's quite a distance from where she started — Lawton.
        Her skill as a photographer has also covered considerable ground, building up a noteworthy body of work. Last year, the New York Public Library announced that it has acquired for its Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway archive, photographs taken by the Southwest Oklahoma native and former Vassar College official.
        "The New York Public Library has acquired my entire archive of New York City theater productions," Sheridan emails. "So far, it's 15 years of work, and I'm still working. My archive includes probably about 150,000 to 175,000 images. Also, the library will have all my slides, negatives, prints, paper files and records, and since 2003 all my digital images. These will reside in its Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library, a truly great library for all things in the arts in NYC."
        And, her work will be accessible.
        "Eventually, this archive will be made available to scholars, students, and the general public," she said.
        This is hardly the first recognition Sheridan's work has had.
        "I've had nine one-person exhibitions of my work," she said. "Other than those exhibitions, I have not invested much time or effort in selling my work. My work is seen mostly in NYC in the usual newspapers and magazines in the City, but also a lot have gone national and international."
        From her web site, a partial list of "the usual" states:
        "Sheridan's photographs have been published in countless newspapers and magazines, and's galore. The Advocate, American Poetry Review, American Theatre, Backstage, Backstage West (cover), Bay Area Reporter, Belles Lettre (cover), Christian Science Monitor, Chronicle of Higher Education, City Arts NYC, Variety, Dance Magazine, The Drama Review, Der Spiegel, el diario, Elle, Gay City News, GO Magazine, hi (Dubai), In Theater (cover), L.A. Weekly, Newsday, New York magazine, New York Post, New York Times (variety of sections and editions), Oakland Tribune, Opera News, The Drama Review, Time Out London, Topical (Japan), USA Today, Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Review, Variety, Vassar Quarterly (covers), The Villager, Yale Drama Review,,, the,,,,,,,,,,,,
        Though she had served for two decades as the company photographer for the respected Powerhouse Theater at Vassar, it has only been since 1997 that she moved to New York City to become a full-time photographer specializing in theater images.
        "My decision to work as a photographer documenting Off and Off-Off Broadway, was a surprise to me, oddly. I have two degrees in drama, a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. from the University of Oklahoma," she said. "And photography became important to me along the way, but I didn't PLAN this third career. It was one of those moments when two passions had come together, photography and theater, and in 1997, I took a chance to bank my future in this field, because I wanted to live and work in NYC. So, I started my freelance business and it has worked out."
        Bravely uprooting and taking a chance on success is something Sheridan knew from her earliest memories. "My parents, Mary Sue and Richard (Dick) Massad and I moved to Lawton, in 1952, 2114 Columbia Ave.
        My parents worked together and owned the Jack and Jill, a children's department store on D Avenue; and later they opened Dick's Famous Brands on C Avenue. My parents were active in the Lawton community and were well-known."
        Sheridan went through the Lawton Public Schools, starting with Woodrow Wilson grade school, then Central Jr. High, Tomlinson Jr. High, and graduated from Lawton Senior High School.
Lawton Constitution
        Though they haven't seen her for many years, Larry Massad and Blanche Massad, brother and sister owners of Massad's Gifts & Stationery, recall their distant cousin warmly.
        "She was always a go-getter," Larry Massad said. "In high school she was running for student council or some office, and I remember she gave out sticks of gum labeled 'Stick with Dixie,' and I thought that was so clever."
        Vassar College played a significant role in the higher education direction of Sheridan's career. The private, coeducational liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, NY began as a women's school, becoming coeducational in 1969.
        Sheridan's web site spells out her after-Lawton career path:
        "Sheridan started her career as a newspaper reporter, editor, and photographer at the Southern Dutchess News. While at SDN, she was elected as the first woman to be president of the Mid-Hudson News Association, and she won several Heritage Media Awards for excellence in reporting, and feature writing. She then returned to her alma mater as editor, writer and photographer for the Vassar Quarterly; and continued at Vassar College for many years, becoming assistant to the president, and finally vice president for college relations. During Sheridan's time as vice president, her office won over 20 awards... for excellence in publications and strategic special events planning."
        When her photography interest evolved, there was little expectation that it would lead to the importance that it has. As the New York Public Library explained in its announcement, "Dixie Sheridan's photographs fill a vital gap in the documentation of New York theatre history, joining the Billy Rose Theatre Division's photographic collections of the White Studio, Vandamm Studio, Friedman-Abeles, and Kenn Duncan. Noted for her unique relationships with her subjects and a talent for capturing the theatrical moment, Dixie Sheridan's collection will be a valued addition to the holdings of The New York Public Library. This will be the first acquisition of an important photographer's work that extends into the twenty-first century."
        Sheridan's photograph collection joins the library's archives alongside works by theatrical luminaries Katharine Hepburn, Lillian Gish, Gypsy Rose Lee, Edward Albee and more.
        And it's not over yet, the Sheridan archive will keep growing as her work in theater continues.
        Other projects, on and off stage also interest her.
        "Since the Metropolitan Opera started its Met at the Movies series six years ago, it's given me the opportunity to see so many operas for $20, instead of $200, and I'm hooked. I hope one of your movie theaters in Lawton is showing these opera simulcasts," she said. "I also love to travel, most recently to Vietnam, China, Brazil, Africa (twice). And I watch lots of sports on TV, preferably tennis."
        Sheridan has captured memories, historic to the New York stage; and she continues to make new memories to go along with the other good ones, that started in her hometown.
        "I love returning to Lawton, for visits to the Wildlife Refuge, and to soak up the 180 degrees of horizon, and to see old friends whom I value very much," she said.