Dawn Kushner

Cabell County


Visual Arts, BFA (in progress Marshall University)


About Dawn Kushner

In the United States, nearly 19.4 million individuals face the dual challenges of substance use disorders and mental illness. Intertwined with my personal experiences, this stark reality forms the cornerstone of my interdisciplinary art practice.

Growing up in Charleston, WV, I witnessed a community marked by mental health and substance abuse struggles. These were not stories in passing; they were the lived experiences of caregivers, family friends, and siblings. Influenced by my upbringing, my creative process endeavors to encapsulate the essence of memory, the gravity of melancholy, and the shared experiences of the human condition.

My work begins with visceral emotion, followed by location scouting and meticulously sketching how I envision the final piece will convey that sentiment. Once the sketch is finalized, I materialize through deliberate set design, strategic posing, and the nuanced manipulation of lighting.

By employing light and staging, I reveal and shield content from the viewer, imparting a sense of detachment yet an ‘all-too-familiar’ resonance.


Dawn Kushner is an interdisciplinary artist, but her primary tool is photography. She creates work inspired by her experiences throughout her youth in Charleston, West Virginia, to encompass the trials and tribulations of the human condition. Her work has been shown locally throughout Charleston and Huntington, WV, including in Piercing Lights, Silent Shadows: Stories of Appalachian Identity, as well as displayed in various juried exhibitions and published in the 2022 issue of Et Cetera, Marshall University’s literary magazine. For her work, she has received merit awards, juror’s choice awards, and fellowships to continue expanding her creative exploration. Dawn currently resides in Huntington, WV, pursuing a BFA in photography at Marshall University.

[email protected]

Other Creative Skills

Mixed Media & Collage

Dawn Kushner's Work

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