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Artist Biography - Dawn Nelson, Jamaica Plain, MA Artist

I was born outside of Chicago in 1951 and grew up in the mid-west. My summers were spent in Belvidere Park on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and my school years were in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I went to Art School and received a B.F.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, and attended graduate school at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA, where I received a MEd in Expressive Therapies.

After college I moved to Boston, and have been in the Boston area ever since. For 10 years I worked in human services, both as an Art Therapist and as a program administrator. For the 25 years since then I have been an Art Teacher. Most of my teaching has been at the middle school level, but I have also taught high school, elders, and university classes. Since 1987, I have worked for Weston Public Schools in Massachusetts, and have been active in a variety of ways in the Weston community including designing sets and directing set crews for school dramatic productions, and in developing art exhibition traditions. I began the tradition of the Annual Weston Middle School Art Show in 1988. More recently, I have also been teaching graduate level summer courses to Art Teachers at Northeastern University.

My personal life as an adult has been rooted in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Here I have been a part of a number of community organizations including Jamaica Plain Open Studios, of which I was a founding member in 1993, initiated and coordinated the First Church group show, have done committee work, and have been an exhibiting artist every year since 1993 when JPOS began.

In the fall of 2009 I extended my reach by getting a studio at the Eclipse Mill in North Adams, MA.  I have loved moving my art making life out to the western Massachusetts town of North Adams, and have especially enjoyed the chance to have huge spaces in which to make and show my work.

Making Art has always been central in my life. You can see examples of my art work on this website, as well as to find out about exhibitions I have been a part of. My work has shifted in form, but has always spoken to the balance between what is happening inside and outside of myself. My current work is intuitive, expressive, abstract, painterly, psychological, and spiritual. I especially like to paint on surfaces that are about the same size as I am. I draw, paint, fling, wash, and scratch using a variety of media including oil paint, oil sticks, charcoal, gesso, and wax.

I hope you enjoy it!