Profile Type: Creative Business
Creative Business
Dawn M Ellis & Associates

Dawn M. Ellis & Associates (DME) helps those in the business of helping people.  Through creativity, research, technical assistance, and education, DME improves work in the public good arena. Across the U.S., DME works with schools, districts, governmental agencies, nonprofit and service organizations, philanthropies, businesses and individuals. We place people at the center of the work: the students, patients, clients, communities, and customers the agency seeks to help.  

Our services include facilitation, curricular and professional development, coaching, critical friend guidance, leadership cultivation, educational and program design, partnership development,  evaluation and research translation, strategic planning, grant writing and giving optimization, creativity consulting, and leading seminars and residencies. 

Creative and Cultural Core

Founder and President of DME, Dawn Ellis brings the creativity of a multidisciplinary artist (performing and visual), the social justice mindset of a community developer, the capacity building skills of an educator, and the keen inquiry of a researcher to the firm.   On one day, she could tap creative and reflective techniques from the cultural realm to help adults envision, develop, or adapt their professional practice. Another, might consist of modeling and participating in a learning community, then stepping back to peer coach, observe, interview and facilitate groups of students, families, and adults.  DME services strive to leave people and their organizations in a wiser, more capable, connected place, to harness their own skills and those within their network to meet their professional and social benefit goals.  From grassroots inclusion work in rural Vermont, to leadership development in urban Anacostia, DC, to national research on the staff of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Dawn understands the cultural sector deeply.  She's taught, strengthened, and empowered groups working in all levels of the system, across discipline, socio-economic class, geography, background, ability, and age.


DME began in the 1990’s as a Vermont-based sole proprietorship started by social entrepreneur, educator, and creative, Dawn Ellis, with a particular emphasis on the cultural sector, education, and access.  In early 2000’s, Dawn M. Ellis & Associates incorporated and added research, policy, and strategic planning to its portfolio to address a growing need in the field to address questions of quality, impact, and coherence. At the same time, the geographic reach expanded to serve clients across the United States.  Bridging sectors, the firm developed frameworks to help people design programs to serve whole children and whole families, as they navigate school, health, social service, and rehabilitation programs,as well as life in their homes and communities. Today, DME’s client list includes public agencies, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, service associations, corporations and small businesses, schools, coalitions, and individuals. 

National Scope, International Reach

Organizations with international reach, such as the Ford Foundation, VSA arts, and Ford’s Theatre invited DME to research and help guide debut funding or programming initiatives. Service associations such as the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, Educational Theatre Association and the Arts Education Partnership and national agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts turn to Dawn M. Ellis & Associates for translation of research to practice, leadership development, and building learning communities. States seek DME assistance with facilitation, professional development, educational design, and inclusion work, including coalitions across California, Rhode Island and Alabama and agencies in Connecticut, Vermont, Tennessee, and Wyoming.  At the local level, DME assistance ranges from logic modeling and strategic planning, to building social capital to build bonds for more sustainable communities, to the development of creative approaches to documenting and do-it-yourself evaluation tools.

Find Me On …

Additional Links: 
Designing the Learning Community Handbook
Ready, Set, Grow: Cultivating Arts Education Reform
  • Creative Business

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
President/ Creative Consultant, Social Entrepreneur
Mailing Address: 
P.O. Box 5336
Burlington, VT 05402
Physical Address: 
Burlington, VT 05402
Last Name: 
(802) 552-1007
TTY Phone: 
(800) 855-2880 Relay


Profile Type: 
Creative Business
Primary Discipline: 
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Design - Graphic
Design - Urban / Metropolitan
Humanities - General
Humanities - Anthropology
Humanities - Cultural Heritage
Humanities - Literature
Literary Arts - General
Literary Arts- Fiction
Literary Arts - Non-Fiction
Literary Arts - Poetry
Literary Arts - Publishing
Literary Arts - Spoken Word
Media - General
Music - General
Non-Arts / Non-Humanities
Theater - General
Theater - Children's
Theater - Circus
Visual/Crafts - General
Visual/Crafts - Clay
Visual/Crafts - Photography
Visual/Crafts - Printmaking
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
People with Disabilities
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Business Service Organizations
Activities and Services: 
Artist Market
Arts Criticism / Journalism
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Consulting - Organizational Capacity
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Curriculum Development
Design Services
Marketing Services
Product Development Services
Professional Development / Training
Public Relations Services
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Residency - Production / Development
Residency - Other
Writing Services
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City
Multi-County Region
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Educational Theatre Association
New England Consortium of Artist-Educator Professionals
Studio Place Arts
New England Performing Artists Retreat
Emerge VT
Arts Education Partnership
Greater Burlington Women's Forum
Founding Editor, Teaching Artist Journal
Founding Selection Committee, Montalvo National Teaching Artist Fellowship
IBM Thomas J. Watson Scholar

Accessibility of Services

Access accommodations for people who use a wheelchair and have limited mobility
Access accommodations for people who are blind, partially sighted, and have low vision
Access accommodations for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing
With deep roots in inclusion and access work, DME helps clients build inclusive, diverse, accessible strategies. Larger projects involving DME Affiliates often include professionals with disabilities, from nontraditional backgrounds, or those versed in inclusion and diversity work. Dawn Ellis served as an early director of statewide access service organization VSA Vermont. She has frequently taught as part of an international faculty with the national VSA institutes and developed the initial VSA National Teaching Artist Fellowship program to build the professional capacity of artists with disabilities. In socioeconomic inclusion, DME recently served as critical friend to Ford's Theatre as they built a national teacher fellows program, particularly including teachers serving very urban or rural populations across the U.S..

I am a Teaching Artist

Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - English Language / Literacy
Arts Integration - Foreign Languages
Arts Integration - Health
Arts Integration - History and Social Science
Arts Integration - Mathematics
Arts Integration - Science / Technology / Engineering
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age