Rebuilding Stone Giants: Shantia Anderheggen ’84 on Where Her Art History Degree Has Taken Her

There were three things Shantia Anderheggen always liked growing up: art, architecture, and design. With those three passions in mind, it seemed fortuitous that URI’s Department of Art and Art History should fall just ten minutes away from her hometown of Peace Dale, RI. “It was close by and affordable,” Anderheggen says of her decision to enroll. “URI had a great reputation as a state university, professors who interested me, and a stunningly beautiful campus.” 

Though she had a strong interest in design, Anderheggen enrolled as a student pursuing the art history program in particular, hoping to combine her three lifelong interests into a fulfilling career. She recalls how much she enjoyed working with her program’s professors during her time as a student, stating, “I don’t recall one specific experience that inspired me, but, rather, the overall quality of my art history classes: professors with extraordinary expertise in their fields of study, and generally small and intensive classes, especially the seminars.” Falling in love with the program more and more over the course of her time at URI, Anderheggen graduated in 1984 with a B.A. in Art History.

Contrary to myths about those who pursue the arts for a career, Anderheggen does not live the life of a starving artist. She has been employed for the last thirty years as a historic preservation professional, working to restore old, beautiful, and historic buildings that feel quintessential to New England’s landscape. Anderheggen notes that the education she received at URI made a huge impact on her career prospects, adding that her education in American architecture helped form the basis for her concentration on New England’s environment. As for advice to future students, Anderheggen looks to her past, advising: “Work closely with your professors. They each have a wide range of advice, experience, expertise and knowledge to offer. They are a great resource for helping identify and align your interests and passions with areas of study and professional focus.”

~Written by Chase Hoffman, Writing & Rhetoric and Anthropology Double Major, URI Class of 2021