Visual Arts Faculty

Jon Detwiler became a Visual Art teacher in the Middle School. He came to McDonogh after earning a B.F.A. in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art, and he later received his M.F.A. from the Mount Royal School of Painting. His background is in scenic design and technical theatre, which he taught at The Baltimore High School for the Arts and Essex Community College. He also spent a period of time as Technical Director at Essex Community College. Mr. Detwiler has made a point of including technology studies as a component of his art classes, made possible by the use of a computer lab in his middle school studio. Outside of his McDonogh responsibilities, he is a freelance painter in the Mt. Washington/Pikesville area.

Oletha DeVane was appointed as Head of the Visual Arts Department when she arrived at McDonogh in 1993. She received her B.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art and her M.F.A. in painting from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since then, she has taught foundation art classes at UMass, Catonsville and Dundalk Community Colleges, and McDaniel College. She held Artist’s Residencies in printmaking with the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada and Bau Institute in Oranto, Italy. She also attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine for textiles and fiber. She was the Visual Arts Program Director and the Individual Artist Program Director for the Maryland State Arts Council, and while there she co-directed the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Program in the Arts. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally, most recently in Baltimore, Washington, and New York. In 2007, Mrs. DeVane won the Rollins-Luetkemeyer Chair for Distinguished Teaching here at McDonogh.

Mia Halton has been teaching for the Upper School Visual Arts Department since 1998. She earned her B.A. in art and religion from Kenyon College, where she encountered artists that influenced her artistic development, like Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock, and Philip Guston. After college, she spent time illustrating children’s books and teaching at Somerset High School in Washington, DC. She received her Master’s from Maryland Institute College of Art, where she worked with process-oriented paintings on Luon plywood. From the early nineties to 2002, Mrs. Halton also operated a fabric design business that has influenced patterns in her art. Her current work is in printmaking under an Artist’s Residency at University of Maryland, Townsend. She has shown her work in California, New York, Washington, D.C., Ohio, and at both the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Gomez Gallery in Baltimore. Her work is also part of the U.S. State Department and Kenyon College collections.

Beckie Lamborn became an art teacher with the Lower School Art Department in 2000. She graduated with her B.A. in Art and Fashion Merchandising from Albright College, and in 2010 she earned her M.Ed. in Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University. Before becoming an educator, she worked as a graphic designer for JM Gaskey’s printing company. She is a member of the Maryland Art Educators Association as well as the National Art Educators Association. Here at McDonogh, she teaches art classes to students in kindergarten through second grade. Outside of academia, Mrs. Lamborn has been a camp assistant to the Imagine Art Summer Camp. Her paintings are currently on display in the children’s wing of the Maryland Athletic Club in Timonium and in several private homes. The focus of her work is line and gesture drawing combined with color and texture paintings.

Joan Newcomer was appointed as the Director of Lower School Art in 1974. She earned her B.A. in secondary art education from the University of Maryland. She then received her M.F.A. in art teacher education from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In the past, Mrs. Newcomer has been an elementary art resource teacher in the Baltimore City Public Schools, and here at McDonogh she is an art instructor for grades 2-4 and a wood shop teacher for grades 1-2. She is a board member of the Maryland Art Education Association, where she is the representative for the Association of Independent Maryland Schools. Her own work has been exhibited locally and focuses on watercolor and ceramics. In the book The Flower Teachers: Stories for a New Generation by Candace Jesse Stout, she is interviewed as one of thirty art teachers across the nation.

Leslie Snyder Portney joined the Visual Arts Department in 2005 to teach Ceramic Sculpture and foundation visual art classes. She earned her B.A. with a double major in Art Education and Studio Art, with an emphasis on painting and ceramics. She attended The Maryland Institute College of Art with a studio emphasis in painting and ceramics and art education. Her teaching career began in 1975 in the Baltimore County Public Schools, where she received "The Outstanding New Teacher Award.” Over the last 25 years she has also been part of the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she most recently taught Foundation level drawing classes. She has exhibited her own work both locally and nationally, which includes ceramics, printmaking, painting, and drawing. Recently, she undertook the Empty Bowls project with her art students, a national grassroots initiative to make and sell ceramic bowls to help feed the homeless.

Denise Wolf was appointed as the Head of the Middle School Arts Department shortly after her arrival at McDonogh in 1997. She received her B.A. in education from Randolph-Macon College and has taken graduate courses in education at Towson University. She is a Maryland State certified teacher for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Before coming to McDonogh, she taught at The Norbel School, Cockeysville Middle School, and Arbutus Middle School, and she interned at 1708 East Main Gallery in Richmond, Virginia. Her work was largely focused on the use of oil and watercolor paints on various media. Mrs. Wolf teaches middle school art classes, assists eighth graders with the development of their portfolios for Art II in the Upper School, and curates the exhibits on display in the lobby of the Horn Theater. Outside the classroom, she coaches girls’ lacrosse and field hockey in the Lower and Middle Schools.


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8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117