Before coming to CWA in 2013, Dana Squires was a teaching artist with the Washington State Art Commission, taking part in art residencies in schools across the region. This work involved working across disciplines with classroom teachers of non-art subjects and integrating art into the curriculum. Like all of the art teachers at Charles Wright, she is a professional artist. “Art is not a set of skills,” she says. “It is a winding process-oriented path of observation, questioning, and exploration. Learning happens, perhaps undetected or forgotten, somewhere on the journey. My goal is to bring this learning process to the forefront, to make the thinking visible, and to remind students that it is not all about a perfect finished product.”
Dana did two tours as a Peace Corps volunteer. She worked in community development and lived in a mud hut in a small village in Senegal, West Africa. For two years she also lived in a palm-frond house, among shark worshipers, on a tiny island in Melanesia. In addition to getting inspiration from her travels in Southeast Asia, she says she is fascinated by other cultures and uses these experiences to influence her teaching and her own artwork. “Spending time in, and learning from other cultures, is my artistic muse. Like art, being in a foreign culture is a way to experience and see things from different perspectives.”
She lives in Olympia in a periwinkle-colored house with her partner, their daughter, a big white Great Pyrenees, two orange kittens, and a big fat tabby.