Originally from Martha’s Vineyard, creativity advocate and interdisciplinary artist Dawn Breeze worked in the fashion world in New York City before finding herself in Hudson and now Germantown, New York. The extra physical and mental space of the Hudson Valley has allowed Breeze to grow her own practice and to help others through her Creativity + Courage™ curriculum, as well as through Instar Lodge, the not-for-profit arts project space she founded and currently directs in Germantown. Her new book of poetry, “Breath 40x” was self-published this month and she’ll read from it this Saturday at Spotty Dog during this month’s installment of the Volume Reading & Music Series. Look for her public exhibition project, Wayfinding: Imaging History with (Our)story at Olana Historic Site this summer.
I moved to New York City to study and work in fashion, but I became disenchanted with my future in the city in my 20s. I wanted more creative opportunities and a space to create something on my own. I was working as a fashion editor and stylist, and I only began working as an artist when I moved Upstate. It was the nature surrounding me, the open sky and spaciousness of my time that opened me up to other creative pursuits. After I had my son in 2008, my husband and I had a lot of life-changing moments — my sister died unexpectedly, we moved to Germantown.
I’d been working in abstract or expressionistic landscape, and my focus changed to narrative and to investigating my recent life transformation. I also developed Creativity + Courage™, an experiential learning program at the dual-diagnosis center High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, CT. Until very recently, I’d been doing that once a week for six years, working with all ages. I also offer it to businesses (such as Etsy) for team building, and to private groups. I’ve worked with coaches, therapists, designers, architects, really anyone.
I decided to go back to school and I got my master’s at Goddard in interdisciplinary arts with a focus on art education reform, social practice and creative writing. I discovered creative writing to be an integral part of my process. Instar Lodge is really my thesis project, a culmination of recognizing my values and trying to explore with the community. I’ve been running it for three years with community volunteers. We’re focused on fostering development of creativity and community, and we do that through exhibitions, creative workshops, and learning opportunities with a large emphasis on community conversations.
We support female-identifying artists by offering studio spaces and platforms. We’ve produced really great projects, including a collaborative project, Rally in the Valley, that helped raised $14,000 for our local Planned Parenthood.