VAC to display new paintings by artist John D. Dawson

  • John D. Dawson

  • Courtesy photo 'The Shadow Knows,' acrylic painting by John D. Dawson.

Volcano Art Center is currently displaying new paintings by Hawaii Island wildlife artist John D. Dawson.

The exhibit, titled ‘Flowers We Have Met Along The Way,’ features 20 new acrylic paintings of scenes Dawson encountered while working with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from 1990-2020.


The exhibition is now open and will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 26 at the VAC Gallery in HVNP. Dawson will be present at the VAC Gallery from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26 to talk story with those interested.

The exhibition will also be available online at

Dawson was born and raised in San Diego, Calif. With the support of his class, he was encouraged to follow his dreams of a career in art. He graduated from the Art Center School in Los Angeles, California which is now The Art Center College of Art and Design. Dawson served in the Army Reserves while beginning his art career. Detroit and automobile art kept him occupied for a year after college when he returned to San Diego and entered the world of advertising. John’s gift of illustration offered him full-time employment for 16 years.

Today one can find Dawson’s artwork included within the maps provided to visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as well as the educational display inside the Kilauea Visitor Center. One of Dawson’s proudest accomplishments is the Nature in America stamp series which includes a lush depiction of the Hawaiian rainforest created for the United States Postal Service.


“The collection of paintings on display for the ‘Flowers We Have Met Along The Way’ exhibition is inspired by a decade of immersion within the dynamic landscapes found within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,” said Gallery Manager Emily C. Weiss. “Excursions provided by park researchers and staff deepened John’s appreciation and knowledge of Hawaii’s native flora and fauna which he freely shares through his art for us all to enjoy.” He credits Linda W. Pratt and park ranger Jay Robinson, since retired, for a decade of sharing their expertise and time with he and his wife Kathie on numerous hikes to locations both near and far in search of ideal specimens to observe in their natural environment.

Mandatory mask wearing and social distancing is being observed. For more information, visit or contact Emily C. Weiss at 967-8222 or

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