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Dawn Spears

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Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw) is a doll maker, photographer, and multi-media artist, who uses cultural symbolism and the vibrant colors of our natural world as inspiration for her work. My work reflects all facets of life. My mother Diosa Summers, Choctaw was an artist and educator who inspired and encouraged creativity in me and my siblings at an early age. I grew up being exposed to many forms of artmaking, assisting her was my introduction to art. It was inevitable that I would end up with similar interests.  I am a mother of three, a wife of thirty-five years to Cassius and a grandmother of seven. I find as an artist, that being able to create original art that has elements of my culture and tradition, is my best form of expression, I use symbolism and the rich colors of our natural world as inspiration for my abstract paintings and designs.

This is an artistic interpretation of the stormwater runoff process. It is also portraying our respect for water.  As the Indigenous people of this land, we recognize "nippe" (water) as life. We value water within our culture, as a member of the Narragansett tribe, we are the people of this land. 


It was important to highlight aspects of the runoff process in my design, while simultaneously representing our culture.  The entire picture is based on the water symbol.  The water runs from the hill mimicking the process in the image.  

The center of the cycle which is continuous and includes the sun, and the clouds, shows the turtle's back representing Turtle Island and again pays tribute to honoring our land, our water, and respecting our Mother Earth. 


  • The stones culturally represent the bones of our ancestors, and our ancestors protecting us.  

  • The fish, birds, dragonfly, clouds, and the sun, connect us to each plane. 

  • Cattails - represent healthy environment

  • Turtle - Mother Earth

  • Sun -  Father Sky  

  • We are all connected " Nature at Work"

  • Stones are used to filter and catch debris 

  • Riparian buffer uses plants/vegetation to also filter the water

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