Dawn Cooper

As an Indy native, I was raised in the shadow of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1980s. I fell into a legal assistant job a week after graduating high school at only 17 years old and didn’t start college until a few years later, enrolling in IU’s school of Journalism. While life’s journey took me side tracking from journalism, being a paralegal was the perfect fit for my left brain tendencies. That is what has paid the bills for the past 30+ years. I relied on my left brain to get through the whole adulting thing — marriage, raising kids, owning a business, debating with teenagers, home maintenance crash courses, etc., never realizing that my right brain was itching to take over!

Earlier in life my step-dad, who had been an art major at Ball State, introduced me to the art world. I don’t think I truly appreciated the experience when I was younger, but after I was on my own and visiting museums as a favorite pass time with my parents, I realized what a gift it was. I learned art history from conversations with my dad and remember being enamored by the Impressionists.

In 2013 I attended a Wine and Canvas class with my mother and my right brain exploded! I had never tried painting before and a seed was certainly planted that day. I started hoarding art supplies with every spare dollar and I really haven’t stopped since. After about a year of developing my own style, I met Melissa Cain (former FC9 artist). Cain needed instructors for her art business and hired me to teach private paint parties.

Those learning years showed me that painting could be an escape from the challenges of life and therapy to get through it all. I am never unhappy while painting and it gives my left brain a break from reality. I continue to develop as an artist and never tire of learning new things. I love to teach classes when I can get the work because I enjoy sharing the therapeutic benefits of painting and watching my students WOW themselves!

In 2018 I met a great group of artists from Louisville and installed in the Where?Haus gallery. The Louisville artists I befriended there will forever be a piece of my heart and chosen family. The gallery succumbed to the pandemic and I set out to find an art family closer to home. Through Melissa Cain, I was introduced to Full Circle Nine and the amazing member artists there. 

I dream to retire to art life full time and perhaps someday own my own makers’ space where I can serve as gallery mom to a new generation of creators.