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Dawn Figueroa Oral History Interview

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Dawn Figueroa Oral History Interview


In this interview, Dawn Figueroa details her journey to Oregon State University and her love for art. She begins her story on the east coast, where she received an undergraduate double degree at Kean University for Fine Arts (Visual Communication), and Religion and Philosophy, and discusses the ethical issues she had with advertising courses and restrictions in graphic design. She then worked as a teacher and freelance artist after school. Later, she and her husband moved to Boulder, Colorado so he could work on his masters degree, and Figueroa could work on her art. Her focus in art varies from illustration, jewelry, and murals. After living in Boulder, she then moved to Missouri, and shortly thereafter, New York.

While living in upstate New York, Figueroa worked from home as a freelance artist. A friend then recommended a position for her at Colgate University in the Picker Art Gallery. She began to work as a museum assistant as she had experience matting and framing. Figueroa then learned how to use their digitizing and cataloging system, and kept asking to help with more opportunities within the museum.

Her husband then began another teaching job at the University of North Texas. After the move to Texas, Figueroa found another opportunity as a Collection Manager and Curator, for the university’s Fashion Collection. She notes that she wasn’t experienced in fashion history, but the skills that she built while working at the Picker Art Gallery and her adventurous spirit allowed her to learn the collection and grow as a professional.

After living in Texas for eight years, Figueroa and her family decided to move to Oregon and settle down. While touring Oregon State University’s campus, Dawn walked around Milam Hall and found the Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection on display in the hallway. After researching the collection and getting in contact with the dean and collection overseer, she wrote up a proposal to digitize and catalog the collection. This digital collection now assists the need for instructors to access the collection and to be able to find what they are looking for out of thousands of pieces.

The interview concludes with a discussion of Figueroa's on-going work to digitize the collection, while continuing her illustration and creating art with her two kids.


Dawn Figueroa


Voices of Oregon State University Oral History Collection (OH 09)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


February 15, 2019


Anna Roth


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Anna Roth


Dawn Figueroa


Valley Library, Oregon State University

Original Format

Born Digital



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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