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Meet Cara McKinley with Bemis School of Art!

How did you first become interested in art?

I can’t think of that first magical moment where I became interested in art. I feel like I have always been interested in making and grew up in an environment where creativity was encouraged. My dad was a painter and sculptor and my mom is pretty artsy too. My dad’s side of the family is filled with painters and makers.

Who or what inspires you? Why?

Colors, nature, and materials. Color is really exciting to me. The way it can change a mood or feeling is powerful. Combining this with the sheer joy of handling materials, especially clay, where one can express themselves and leave evidence of pure emotion. Looking at the world around and reflecting it through making and looking is essential to my life.

What led you to become an art teacher?

I love sharing the world of clay. Having students experience the magic and transformation of a material gives me such joy.

What about your background or life experiences have created special or unique connections with students?

I am a new mom and like most new parents, it is kind of all I know right now. I think that anyone can connect with the vulnerability, messiness, and realness of life.

If you could place 3 tiny houses anywhere in the world to live in, where would you put them?

In Florida on a beach named Coral Cove, and on the Blue Ridge of North Carolina, and the third is undetermined: maybe Costa Rica?

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

The 60s – San Francisco, CA or Jupiter, Florida. But this is tough question because I would choose many other times and locations. I would want to go back to see particular works of art be made too. Why not, right?

What’s your “dance like nobody’s watching” song?

Right now: Madonna’s Lucky Star.

What’s on your bucket list?

I need to make one of those! But I have lots of things that I would like to do: Travel to interesting places, see lots of live music, spend lots time at various oceanfronts with my family, make lots of art…

If you had to write a life ‘motto’ what would it be?

Have some fun and enjoy the ride.

See what Cara is teaching now