Artist Sarah Dooley creates community, explores identity through art

Plastic dinosaurs make for a great still life when you’re teaching children how to draw.

Beaverton artist Sarah Dooley knows this well, as she has taught art classes for children all over Washington County. Sarah tackles big topics with her little artists, studying color theory, blending textures, simple forms, 3D shapes, and more. Her students study everything from doodling to the golden ratio to pixels and collage.

Sarah’s been an instructor with the Beaverton Arts Literacy Program (at Fir Grove Elementary), the Oregon College of Art & Craft (for summer art camps), the Walters Cultural Arts Center, and the Sherwood Center for the Arts. She has also hosted small group classes at her home studio and converted garage.

Sarah, who graduated with a degree in studio art from Lewis & Clark College, knows she was born to teach. She comes from a long line of educators. Sarah loves teaching, but most specifically, she loves teaching art.

“Art has been a tool of self-discovery, self-examination, and self-expression,” she said.

Through art, Sarah has explored her own identity, her place in the community, and complex human emotions.

Sarah first took an art class while attending Beaverton High School in the ’90s where she was co-president of the school diversity club. She helped organize student panel discussions on issues of color, race, gender, and identity.

She went on to do a year at Mill’s College in Oakland, before coming back to the Beaverton-area to be closer to family. Family is very important to Sarah, a mother of two.

Through some of her most recent work, Sarah continues to explore a sense of self and a sense of place.

Three of her self-portraits will be on display as part of the, “Those Who Teach” exhibit open May 2 through July 2 at the Sherwood Center for the Arts.

And she recently started another project using old maps of Beaverton to explore the relationship between borders, people, and nature. Sarah is an amateur naturalist and gets much of her inspiration from nature. She hopes to display some of the pieces locally this fall.

Sarah is also a master of selfies, something she credits to her study of photography at Lewis & Clark.

“The key to a good selfie is all about lighting and angles,” she said.

You will be able to find Sarah’s work at starting May 20, as Sarah’s art is featured on the packaging for products from hue noir, makeup for women of color. The company which manufactures its products in Beaverton flaunts Sarah’s work on tubes of lipstick, lip gloss, foundation, eyeshadow, and more.

Above all else, Sarah uses art to help keep herself grounded. She plans to release a series of collaged “Meditation Cards” in the coming months which were created through an intuitive process. The cards are designed to help people to re-center their emotions when they are feeling out of sorts, and Sarah has lead groups of people in creating their own cards.

“Art has been healing for me, and I want it to be a tool for others to heal,” she said.

You can see more of Sarah’s work online:

Earthwork Studio


Selfie by Sarah Dooley

This content is sponsored by Work for Art, including contributions from more than 75 companies and 2,000 employees.