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Meet Kat Kiernan of Panopticon Gallery in Kenmore Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat Kiernan.

Kat, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Panopticon Gallery is the oldest photography gallery in Boston and has a storied and somewhat complex history. In 1971, Tony Deceaneas opened Panopticon as a basement one-room gallery and darkroom in Boston’s Back Bay. The gallery moved to Newbury Street for a brief period of time before returning to Back Bay, then Waltham, and finally to its current home inside Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square. In 2007, Paul Sneyd acquired the printing lab (Panopticon Imaging) portion of the business and in 2010, Jason Landry acquired the gallery.

Having owned Panopticon Imaging for ten years, Paul Sneyd united the two businesses once more when he purchased the gallery from Jason this past spring. I joined Panopticon as the Gallery Director in May. I received my BFA in Photography and Art History from The Art Institute of Boston (now called Lesley University College of Art and Design). Soon after graduation, I opened a photography gallery in Lexington, Virginia before becoming Assistant Director at Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City. I am excited to be back in Boston for the newest iteration of this esteemed gallery.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
While Panopticon Gallery’s road has had some twists and turns in its 46 years of operation, this new chapter began in September with “At Sea,” the gallery’s first exhibition under Paul’s ownership and my direction. The opening reception for “At Sea” was very well attended and the press has been great—we couldn’t have asked for a better re-launch.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Panopticon Gallery – what should we know?
Panopticon Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. In addition to offering photographs by our stable of artists, we also offer collection building, consulting and advising, and can assist in many facets of photographic collection, de-accession, and research.

Our unique location is one of the many things that sets us apart from other galleries. Located inside Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square, this unconventional location means that hundreds of people walk through the gallery every day. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week—although gallery staff is only available Tuesday – Saturday, 10-6.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The staff at Panopticon Imaging should absolutely be acknowledged for their role in the gallery’s success. While Panopticon Imaging is located in Rockland, MA and the gallery is in Boston, we work together seamlessly. The staff at Panopticon Imaging is skilled in all things photography including darkroom and digital printing, restoration, framing, shipping, and more. Everyone is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about photography and helps the gallery to run like a well-oiled machine.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Agnieszka Sosnowska, Amy Friend, Andrew Seguin, Diana H. Bloomfield, Jefferson Hayman, Kent Krugh, Stephen Sheffield

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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