Teaching Artist/Instructor; Visual Arts; Writing
Sarah Dees is a professional artist, entrepreneur, writer and educator. As of August 2019, Sarah has been working the past three years as an online English teacher for students in China. She built a support group for artists on Facebook, Artists Trying to Make a Living Creating Art, which has over 186,000 members. To manage the group, she supervises a staff of 14 volunteers.Sarah has enjoyed a career as a visual artist. She studied Liberal Arts at Eckerd College for two years and then earned her BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1982, majoring in illustration.Sarah created paintings on paper and canvas, and painted murals in homes and businesses. She worked with all kinds of art media. She specialized in creating art on commission, from portraits, to landscapes, buildings, seascapes, still life, floral, and tropical subjects. Her style varied widely, from representational to impressionistic to abstract. Sarah owned an elephant etching press and enjoyed making fine art prints. She enjoyed other forms of printmaking too, creating etchings, custom monoprints and fine art serigraphs. In 1983, she started her own custom art and picture framing business, Dees Design Graphics, which she ran successfully for twenty years. Her sister, Suzanna Dees, was Sarah’s partner for ten years, but when Suzanna had to move out of state due to her husband’s career, Sarah continued the business as a sole proprietor for the next decade. During the years of Dees Design Graphics, Sarah sold her original paintings and fine art prints. She painted murals, created original paintings and had them printed as posters, custom framed the posters and installed them in new projects and renovations. She completed jobs in commercial buildings, residences, timeshare resorts, health care and hospitals, condominiums, other hospitality resorts and properties. She installed framed art for local resorts, including the Tradewinds and the Sirata Resort and Conference Center. She designed and custom framed a historical museum in the main lobby area of the historic Belleview Biltmore, and provided framed art for all the rooms. She created original art posters for hospitality projects in Orlando, and throughout Florida. Sarah was a member of NEWH, (formerly the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, now the Hospitality Network) a national non-profit business networking organization that raised scholarship funds for students majoring in hospitality. After serving two years as Publication Director on the Sunshine Chapter (Florida) Board of Directors, she served as a writer for the National NEWH magazine. Sarah was forced to closed her business due to an auto wreck injury in 2002, when she was hit from the rear on the interstate. Raising her daughter as a single mom, she became involved in education. She first volunteered, and then was hired on the staff of a private school, teaching elementary and middle school students visual art and performing art. She wrote, choreographed and directed musical plays for children. She taught dance, painting and printmaking at Great Explorations; The Childrens Museum in their summer camp and after school programs. She volunteered at Steps School of Dance for 4 years, creating sets, props and backdrops.
Sarah started her current art business, Sarah Dees Art in January 2006. Unfortunately, She had to go through more adversity – treatment for colorectal cancer – from Jan 2006-July 2007. Fortunately, the radiation and chemo were effective, and she was able to avoid surgery. Sarah has been cancer free since that time.Throughout her career she has contributed to her community, to benefit children, the environment, health causes and the arts. She volunteered with the non-profit Outdoor Arts Foundation for several years, working on public art projects such as the Fins Across Florida: Tampa Bay Tarpon. She also volunteered with Relay for Life, and donated her paintings to cancer causes. She received awards for her cancer paintings from the Max Foundation and from the Lily Oncology on Canvas Tour and Exhibition. She donated a painting to the Gulfcoast Oncological Foundation. For two years, she was the featured artist at the Magnolia Ball Gala for Moffit Cancer Center, donating original paintings for the silent auction each year. Sarah Dees wrote two features for an online magazine, as the Tampa Bay Visual Art Examiner and the Tampa Bay Cancer Advocacy Examiner. She wrote freelance articles about visual art for Creative Loafing. She also maintains a cancer resource page on Facebook, by cancer survivors, to help other cancer patients and survivors.
Sarah taught painting classes at Painting with a Twist in St. Petersburg, Florida, and helped with administration of the studio for two years. Sarah worked at Vista Galleries in Clearwater, as a custom picture framing designer. She taught art to children through the Youth Art Corp program in Pinellas County, in the after-school program, for two summers. She enjoyed teaching art to children, teens and adults. Hurricane Irma brought Sarah through more adversity. The wind blew the roof off of Sarah’s apartment, and it rained all night, a flood from above. She moved to Bradenton, a small town near St. Petersburg. Now she continues to enjoy working from her home in Bradenton, Florida, teaching students in China to speak English. She enjoys sharing friendship and culture, as well as language, with her students. Sarah is always on the lookout for new art jobs and opportunities.