As a poet, Dawn crafts word on page and brings them to life on stage. In an upcoming book and collaboration, Dawn explores story, sound and visual imagery in poetry.  In June 2019, Dawn performed as part of integrating the arts into action as she led a group of 300 people from around New England hosted by New England Foundation for the Arts. Dawn wove spoken word, original songs and improvisational sound pieces as part of her facilitation of inclusion understanding with a gathering of artists, urban planners, librarians, administrators, politicians, and economic development advocates in the Creative Communities Exchange, working on development of creative economies around the region. Dawn received a Bachelors of Arts in English from Yale University, with a focus on theatre and poetry.

Dandelion Rising

With this upcoming book, we offer a positive beacon for individuals to ponder and families to read together.  It’s a time when resilience is desperately needed, both of people and of our planet.

`~ Dawn M. Ellis

Dawn Ellis and visual artist Gordon Sasaki are deep into collaboration on a visual book of poetry.  This book weaves together the story of a young and growing girl of color and a dandelion. Concurrently, they emerge as radiant assets in spite of society’s disregard of their worth.  Themes of sustainability and social justice intertwine.


 As daylight returns,
Connected, you grow
Downwards and up,
Tapping deep water flow,

 With hollow, slim stem,
To draw sustenance
From forsaken dirt,
Discarded by men.     

 Look closely-
You break ground.

~ Dawn M. Ellis, excerpt from “Dandelion Rising”

 The work includes poetry and visuals by Dawn and illustrations by Gordon.  To support this independent artistic work through donations, distribution, resources, or hosting author talks or interactive workshops, donate at the Go Fund Me site <here> or contact Dawn by e-mail <here>.


As a writer and researcher, Dawn’s published work inspires people lead change, connect communities, and redesign their work to help others. Her writing and work have contributed to nationally significant publications in the arts, culture, education, and professional development fields. She consults and founded the firm Dawn M. Ellis and Associates, LLC, tapping her creativity in a variety of venues around the U.S.. Many pieces were commissioned by public agencies and are available free of charge to the public. Sample links follow.

Designing the Arts Learning Community

Photo of Designing the Arts Learning Community professional development handbook.
Professional development handbook

Designing the Arts Learning Community: A Handbook for K-12 Professional Development Planners. Dawn led the research and wrote this handbook for a coalition of municipal agencies in California: Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Santa Clara County Office of Education. (2009) Click <here> for the handbook.

Ready, Set, Grow

Photo of Ready, Set, Grow needs assessment publication.
Recommendations on education reform

Ready, Set, Grow: Cultivating Arts Education Reform: A report to the Tennessee Arts Commission (2005) to guide them in new directions with their education work. Dawn led the research team for the needs assessment across the state. These recommendations resulted in Tennessee winning top federal funding to develop a model asset-based, education reform that included both arts education, arts integration, and deep connections with families approach. When evaluated, this reform approach eliminated the poverty achievement gap in test schools, so kids with fewer resources actually did on par or better than their counterparts not in the reform. Click <here> for the publication.