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Artists at school


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Dawn Dale

Visual arts


Dawn Dale

Dawn Dale, professional eco-artist for more than twenty years, received her BFA in 1988 from the University of Ottawa. In 1991, she was granted an arts residency at the Banff Centre. She has exhibited her works across Canada, throughout the United States, as well as in Mexico and Bolivia. She has received several outdoor commissions from the Ottawa Public Art Program. Since 1990, she has taught sculpture in both the General and Diploma programs at the Ottawa School of Art. She also has given school workshops through the organization, MASC, (Multicultural Artists in the School and Community) since 1996. Her workshops with Culture and Communications Québec have taken her as far afield as Fermont and closer to home in Gatineau.

Proposed approach and type of activities


To encourage and promote the role of creativity in any learning process, Dawn shows how the visual arts move through the stages of impulse, impetus, idea and intent towards the creation of an actual, complete work. Modeling creative problem-solving evolves out of a perspective of fostering the students' sense of curiosity and exploration coupled with their desire to master different art mediums. Dawn facilitates each student's artistic expression by offering practical technical assistance while seamlessly tying each project to particular curriculum goals in a classroom setting.

The underpinning of both Dawn's art practice and teaching philosophy is eco-art, ecopsychology and our understanding of the natural world. In her own work she employs an ecological ethic - creating work that uses visual language to speak of our contemporary relationship to, with and in Nature. Using an approach that valorizes art, nature, math and science, Dawn shares with the students her enthusiasm for learning through the medium of art. Her expertise in terms of material process includes clay, wax, plaster, and found objects, as well as a strong background in composition, drawing and painting.

She shares pragmatic techniques that increase and bolster the students' confidence and skill levels with the constant message that it is the content that makes the work interesting, that art is a way of looking at and understanding our complex world, whether you are 6 or 56 years old. She emphasizes art as a form of communication, a language that surrounds us in all of our environments. Art as a tool to learn, art as a gift enabling us to share our learning with others. Art animates the subject, rendering it visible, creating another perspective to understanding.

Examples of activities

  • The students have an opportunity to experience a large-scale project that brightens up their school yard. In class with the teacher, from a theme appropriate to the curriculum and the school outdoor environment, the students make drawings and/or paintings, choosing one per class that will be enlarged on the asphalt of the playground and painted communally. The work becomes a gift to their fellow students. The works last approximately two years and can be repainted and refreshed.

    Skills: Working with paint, colour, proportion and scale. Suitable for subjects about nature (science), story telling, history. Age range: Grades 1-12 (degree of complexity increases with advanced grades). Other surfaces: On a vertical plane; can be used as mural potential.
  • The students create one book per class, sharing the material they have been studying with an emphasis on how we use measurement as part of our understanding of any subject. Using different sorts of paper and various drawing and painting techniques, the one-of-a-kind book becomes part of the reference library of the school, a gift to their fellow students. With older grades, the idea of studying and recreating historical or fictitious documents.

    Skills: Drawing, paints, paper types, measurement, writing and calligraphy skills suitable for any subject matter. Age range: Grades 1-12.
  • Doing a series of wall murals (on canvas that is easily rolled for storage), students create large paintings (min. 92 cm. x 366 cm.) on a variety of subjects (astronomy, habitat, etc.).

    Skills: Working with paint, colour, proportion and scale suitable for any subject. Age range: Grades 1-12 (degree of complexity increases with advanced grades).
  • Sculpting a portrait or figurative work in plastercine, clay or wax based on sculpture classes on human anatomy and proportions.
  • Drawing with organic matter.

Special conditions

The workshop requires specialized material at a maximum cost of $100 a day.

For information

Dawn Dale
Phone : 819 684-5184
Email :

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