Ms. Diana MacKenzie
"It’s important for children to see that the adults around them are curious learners."
Creative thinking is like a muscle that must be exercised daily! As an art educator, I guide my students to grow and stretch these skills through enriching interdisciplinary art projects and experiences that bring the world of art into the classroom. Introducing children to a new medium, like binding a sketchbook or designing a papier-mâché sculpture, is the most rewarding part of my work in art education. I strive to design lessons that set up students for success but also motivate them to think critically and explore new artistic directions. My curriculum is centered on authenticity and creativity. I often use picture books as the springboard for my art lessons, and I encourage open-ended inquiry of materials with an emphasis on the learning process of creating art, rather than on the finished product.
When I’m not teaching, the activities that bring the most joy are my international travels, spending time in the mountains and on the water, and making my own art. I’m a mixed media artist, primarily creating works on paper and making sculptures with fabric or metal. I’ve exhibited my artwork in solo and group shows in Massachusetts, New York, and beyond. I have found it invaluable to my teaching practice to explore my own artistic interests outside of the classroom. It’s important for children to see that the adults around them are curious learners, and overcoming my own artistic obstacles makes me compassionate towards students when they get frustrated with a new technique.
I grew up on the coast of Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, where my childhood interests in writing stories, drawing, and spending time in nature flourished. After graduating from art school at Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking in 2005, I moved to Western Massachusetts to launch my career in art education. For nine years I had the unique opportunity designing and teaching workshops and classes in a variety of mediums to children, families, and teachers from across the country and around the world at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. I served as an adjunct professor for two years teaching introductory printmaking at Springfield College in Springfield, MA. That role opened my eyes to even more possibilities in art education. I left The Carle and Springfield College to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching and licensure in Visual Art grades for preK through 12 from Mount Holyoke College, and I completed my program in June 2017. I’m very excited to join the Potomac community this fall and tap into the rich art and culture the DC area has to offer!