Dawn Youngs in her home studio

Dawn Youngs in her home studio. The work in progess, Gross | A Life in Pieces on the walls around her.


I was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1973.  I began painting and performing at a young age, studying visual and performing arts as a youth at The Beck Center for the Arts and The Cleveland Museum of Art.  I won honors in many juried shows throughout this time, and was honored to have one of my pieces in an exhibit of young American artists that showed in the US Embassy in the Soviet Union.  (Yes, it was the Soviet Union then, and now that I think of it I rather wish I had been the one to get to go instead!)  The work was a monochromatic horse skull staring out over an empty ocean.  I called it Horse Latitudes.  I was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and Jim Morrison.  Poets of the American southwest. I was a teen.

I received my BA in Performing Arts from the American University in Washington DC and was awarded a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. I went on to work at theaters across the country including The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare, The Creede Repertory Theater, and The Great Lakes Theater Festival, among others. In the mid-2000s I returned to the home of my early artistic life to serve as the Associate Director of Education: Theater at the Beck Center for the Arts. Although I had continued to paint throughout my theatrical career, it was at this point that my interest in exhibiting my work was rekindled. Although my earlier work is predominately in water color and gouache, at this time I discovered oil.  My favorite piece from this period, which sold in a charity auction, was an homage to Van Gogh’s starry night featuring a view of a lone tree from the famous Hwy 1 along the Pacific Coast.

In 2009, along with her partner Kurt Hildebrand, I moved to a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country and founded Spooky Action Ranch. Spooky Action Ranch is an experiment in sustainable living with the goal of getting off the commercial grid for all food, water and energy needs and providing sustainable retreat space for artist’s and all creatives to truly reconnect with the earth and its creative spirit. My work reflects this deep connection to the natural world, with recurrent themes of the earth, plant life, a worship of the sun.  I find beauty in small and living things and seek to create beauty and peace through my work.

In the late spring of 2014, I held my first solo exhibit at the now lost to the Austin development beast Salvage Vanguard Theater. This exhibit, entitled Gross | A Life In Pieces was created working under the constraint of painting an entire show on only 4” x 4” canvases. 144 such canvases, in oil.  The invitation to this show came after one of my pieces was used in the Presidential Losers show and subsequent coffee table book the previous year.

In spring of 2016, Kurt and I ended our partnership in a ceremony of conscious uncoupling, and I headed up into the mountains of southwest Colorado.  I spent the summer working for the Creede Repertory Theater in the quiet but delightful artistic enclave that is Creede, CO.  It is a truly inspiring locale.  After a summer in Colorado, I have returned to Kansas City, to once again call it home.  For now.  Not all who wander are lost.

I am currently working in guache while I search for the perfect home to build my studio. I am also exploring my voice in the written word.  These are my pages.  These are the voyages of the starship Dawn.  To boldly go . . .  well, you know the mantra.

You can see what I’m seeing by following me on instagram.

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