Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dawn Figueroa Oral History Interview, February 15, 2019

Oregon State University

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0:33 - Background and Schooling

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk about where you grew up, and what lead you to go to Kean University..

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa explains how she became interested in art, going to Kean University, and exploring Visual communications.

Keywords: Advertising; Artist; Drawing; East coast; ethical problem; Good Memories; Graphic Design; Grew up; Illustration; Kean University; New Jersey; philosophy; Preschool; Virginia; Visual Communications

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6:07 - After Undergraduate program,

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Partial Transcript: He told me I should either marry a wealthy man, so someone could support me while I do my art, or I could get my masters.

Segment Synopsis: After leaving school Figueroa faced the decision of picking between getting more education and working. She began working for a private school, teaching art and history, finding a new love for history as she found that philosophy helped her art.

Keywords: Boys with neurological disabilities; Living independently; managing behavior; marriage of ideas; masters; philosophy; Private school; teach history

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9:52 - Moving Out West

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Partial Transcript: While I was working there, I met the man I am married to today.

Segment Synopsis: After teaching, Figueroa follows her partner to Boulder as he works on a masters degree. There she begins to work at a bead shop, but really finds her niche selling her art at another shop.

Keywords: "sell your art"; 9 years; Bead Shop; Buddhist practice items; CU of Boulder; drawings; Foster Home; Jewelry; Make art together; Masters and PHD; move out West

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14:30 - Working as an Independent Artist While Moving

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Partial Transcript: And I think the first Job my husband got was in Missouri...

Segment Synopsis: After living in Boulder, Figueroa and her husband move to Missouri. After feeling that their new environment "wasn't working", they move to New York. Figueroa begins to find a new groove as a freelance artist as she found more opportunities to sell her work in New York.

Keywords: Art supply store; Colgate University; Framing shop; freelance; New Jersey; Puerto Rico; rebuild; Saturday Market; Upstate New York

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16:49 - Creating More Opportunities

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Partial Transcript: I just felt like I needed to be out in the world helping people or doing something.

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa sought out an job opportunity at a near by university to work in their museum as a preparator. She stopped making her own art to focus on her job and learning in the art museum. She began to learn new cataloging and digitizing skills.

Keywords:

Subjects: Learning about other people's work Mat and frame Museum on Campus Picasso preparator University Museum

21:00 - History and Fashion with the University of North Texas

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Partial Transcript: So we lived there for about eight years and I loved it, I loved it, it was a beautiful place, and it was a very nice community, but it was eight months of winter.

Segment Synopsis: After living in New York for eight years Figueroa moved to Texas and finds a new position at the University of North Texas as the Collection Manager Curator for their Fashion Collection. She talks about how her love for fashion and history grew as she found "cohesion" between the two.

Keywords: Boulder; Collection Manager Curator; Fashion; Fashion Collection; New York; University of North Texas; Vogue; Winter

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26:46 - Starting out at Oregon State University

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Partial Transcript: My husband just decided he didn't want to die in Texas.

Segment Synopsis: After Figueroa and her husband decided to move out of Texas, they landed in Oregon, with her husbands new teaching position as Oregon State University. She mentions visiting the school and walking around Milam Hall, and finding the Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection. She wrote up a proposal to the dean, and began working with the collection.

Keywords: "OSU'; Bald Hill; Corvallis; Design and Human Environment; Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection; Milam Hall; Newport; Texas

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35:37 - Significance in Historic and Vintage Clothing

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Partial Transcript: How do you see historic apparel collection and vintage clothing in general, affecting or helping the present or future?

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa details her view on fashion, history, and culture and how they come together.

Keywords: Dallas; Jean Paul Gaultier; Sculpture; The Met

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39:53 - Working with the Asian and Pacific Islander Center

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Partial Transcript: I have to credit- I have a supervisor in the College of Business who went to an event at the Asian Pacific Islander Center..

Segment Synopsis: While working with the Asian and Pacific Islander Center, and going through Ava Milam's collection from South Asia, Figueroa gives a talk on appropriation.

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander Center; Ava Milam; China; College of Business; Land Grant

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42:11 - Activism and Art

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Partial Transcript: I guess I just look, for the story, the art, has to tell..

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa talks about what she wants to present with her art, and her work in the collection.

Keywords: Art; solve problems; Superlatives

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45:19 - Evolving the Collection

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Partial Transcript: Professors these days, there is so much changing all the time.. they have to do more things, they're busy..

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa has been working on making the collection accessible for the professors. She has digitized over 2,000 pieces and has created numerous displays. She wants to do more out reach and create more displays. Her hope is for professors to come in and use the collection for themselves. She works with students for independent studies, who are interested in cataloging and display work.

Keywords: 1870-1895; 2,000 pieces; accessible; Aesthetic Period; art and craft; Hats; preservation; Professor Peterson; professors

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51:42 - Children and Art

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Partial Transcript: Part of why I gave up doing my own art for a while is because, my children. I was raising them and working.

Segment Synopsis: Dawn Figueroa began creating her own art again, with her children. She had her pieces put up in the Art Saves Lives show, and explains her meditation within her illustrations. By joining an art coop in her community she finds her self in a similar environment she had in Boulder. She explains how her son also has a great interest in art and how she is able to help in his own work.

Keywords: Art; Art Center; Art Coop; Art Saves Lives; Farmers Market; OSU Today

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62:06 - Final Thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Well I think in my own department, I started out in the Design and Human Environment, was my department...

Segment Synopsis: Figueroa explains her experience in adjusting to Oregon, changes with the Design and Human Environment Department, and missing friends and family.

Keywords: College of Arts; College of Business; Design and Human Environment; Milam Hall

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