DAWN MARTIN: EDUCATION AND ACCESS FROM AN ARTIST'S POINT OF VIEW
Community Engagement Coordinator
at The Adams Theater
If you call the theater hotline, Dawn Martin, our Community Engagement Coordinator, will be the one to pick up. Dawn has contributed to the growth of two major arts and education programs in the Berkshires, WAM Theatre and MASS MoCA’s education department, and now she’s volunteering to help the Adams Theater connect with the public, and connect the public to the arts and culture on display at the theater.
Dawn grew up coming to summer camp in the Berkshires, and always wanted to get back here (she sent her own children to camp here as well). Earlier in her career, she was an art teacher, working in lots of different contexts, from a school for gifted kids to a correctional facility. “You find overlaps everywhere you go,” she said.
She moved to Cheshire when her kids left home, and, looking for ways to get involved in arts education locally, discovered WAM Theatre. She ended up working there as a team member for three years, organizing WAM’s volunteers as the program grew. Later, she saw an ad for MASS MoCA’s Gallery Teachers program, and ended up in the first cohort of teachers, working with then-Associate Director of Education Amanda Tobin Ripley to put together programming and curriculum for public school group engagement. She also developed programming for adults, with gallery teachers leading public educational tours, custom experiences for museum patrons interested in accessing contemporary art.
As an artist (she’s currently working in collage and willow weaving), Dawn sees education and teaching through a creative lens. “The whole process of getting into an organization from the perspective of being an artist and art teacher is a creative act,” she said. “When you get deep enough into a situation, like getting deeply into a medium, you wake up in the morning and you start to have really good ideas. If you are in the right place, with the right people, and you’re the right person, you can contribute meaningfully to the evolution of the project.”
Dawn reached out to Yina after attending the Two Piano Journey fundraising show in 2022 and getting excited about the theater and the progress it had made so far. “I was looking for something I could offer that I know I do well,” she said. She loves to talk to people and introduce them to arts and culture, so community engagement fits the bill.
So far, a few people have called, and Dawn is anticipating demand will pick up as Season 2023 gets closer. “I have a feeling every time somebody calls I’m going to learn more than I share,” she said.
Learn about the Adams Theater and say hi to Dawn by calling our hotline at 888.401.5022. It’s live on Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m., and messages are checked regularly.