Member Profile: Dawn Warren

Current job or job title: I’m an Executive Director: I oversee the daily operations of our organization which includes 26 working artists in 21 studios, I plan and support event rentals and our public programs and events, care for our beautiful building, write grants, create marketing, oversee interns, strategize, and pursue the goals of our board of directors.

Employer: Orr Street Artists Guild, or more commonly known as, Orr Street Studios.

Hometown: Owatonna Minnesota, but I grew up in the Seattle Washington area.

First job: Front Desk Person at a Real Estate Office.

College/degree(s): BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle

Certificate of Non-Profit Management

Awards/Recognitions: Leadership Grays Harbor

Estheticians License in MO, NV, WA, OR

What led you to your career?

Like most things in life the career road is not always a straight line. I worked in the theater for many years, then worked behind the scenes managing volunteers and grant writing, which eventually led to working in the nonprofit sector. When it was time for a change, I became a professional makeup artist and esthetician working in film, tv, and advertising, and started a small skincare salon in Washington which I brought with me to Columbia when I moved here in 2017. Covid came and I was not legally able to work, so I had to reassess and reevaluate my career path. When the job opened up at Orr Street Studios I knew it was a good place for me to put my skills and passion to work. I love Columbia, and it feels so good to be able to affect my community in such a positive way through my work.

Best part of your job: Creating space for artists and other nonprofits to share their work.

Currently reading: 

“Spare” by Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex and “Women in Missouri History in Search of Power and Influence” a collection of essays

What are you most excited about?

Experiencing the reawakening of our community after a very challenging couple of years. I can see the evidence of our brave and clever adaptations to the situation, in business, in our families, and evidence that those actions have led to positive personal and business growth. We’ve been shaken up, and that can bring about good results, including stronger relationships. I can’t wait to see all the great things that the people of Columbia create.

What brings me joy? My family, including my super fun husband, my friends, and my work bring me so much joy. Being close to family here in Columbia has brought so much good into my life since my husband (his hometown) and I moved here in 2017. I’ve made some solid friendships and found the community very welcoming. It’s a good place for us.

Place you want to visit: 

Next place on my travel list is to visit is any place on the earth where I can see the Northern Lights. Norway, Finland, Alaska, Northern Canada, Lapland, Iceland, or even the UP.

Best piece of advice someone has given you: Do it now, don’t wait! (Thanks, mom, good advice.)

Goal for 2023: Embrace the illusive “Work Life Balance.”


300 S Providence Rd
PO Box 1016
Columbia, Mo 65205