Maria Cuzzocrea Burke is an artist-teacher, who is a native of Virginia, and has been an Alexandrian for 30 years. Maria holds a MAT in Art Education from George Mason University (GMU). During this program she participated in the juried exhibition “Reve(a)ling Feminist Art” (March 2008) “The Right One” charcoal on paper, 6’x3′, (2007). She holds her undergraduate B.A. degree in Studio Art and a Minor in Psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, where she won the Best in Senior Art Show for “Berlin Wall Series” (1990-91) oil painting on canvas with mixed media.  One piece of this series was purchased by the college’s Maier Museum of Art in Lynchburg, Virginia. Maria presently teaches Visual Art at Washington-Liberty High School and has taught in Arlington Public Schools (APS) for 12 years. In the Spring 2011, she was selected as a Robert Rauschenberg/The Power of Art educator recipient at The Lab School of Washington. She has served as an APS Elementary Visual Arts Lead teacher and mentor for new art teachers and is an active member and presenter at the NAEA and VAEA conferences. She taught a “Visual Thinking through Media” course at GMU in the Spring and Fall  of 2018. Maria was interviewed for a chapter of the book Real Lives of Art Teachers by Jeff Broome, PhD and Renee Sandell, PhD in 2019-2020. The book will be published in 2022. She is also the Founder of Emergent Design Studio, which provides real-world art and design curricula that challenges young minds through experiential art + design thinking for K12 students, using nature as an inspiration for their design, to make a sustainable impact on our world.

Maria spends her down time in nature—hiking trails, kayaking waters, and shelling beaches. Maria’s recent works are meditative studies of nature in places that are a haven. Her family spends time at her mother’s house, formerly her Great-Aunt’s house, off of the Intracoastal waterway in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she enjoys kayaking Page’s Creek and birdwatching the herons and egrets.  As a mother of an Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hiker, she spent much of the pandemic hiking trails in nearby parks and on the AT. An avid shell collector from the beaches in North Carolina and Florida, Maria finds solace in painting her most treasured shells, such as the elusive Junonia.