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. I started college a few years later, enrolling in IU’s School of Journalism. As it turned out, being a paralegal was the perfect fit for my left brain tendencies and journalism education. 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 an art degree from Ball State, introduced me to the art world. I don’t think I truly appreciated the experience when I was younger.  Later when visiting art museums and galleries became a favorite pass time with my parents, it was only then that I realized what a gift it he gave me. I learned art history from conversations with my Dad and remember being enamored by the Impressionists.

After attending a Wine and Canvas class with my mother, my right brain exploded! I had never tried painting as an adult 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 (fellow FC9 artist). Cain needed instructors for her art business and hired me to teach private classes and 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 there. The Louisville artists I befriended will forever be a piece of my heart and my chosen family. The gallery succumbed to the pandemic so 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, because Artists are my favorite people!