Born in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a hop over Redmont Mountain in Birmingham, MacQueen grew up under the huge shadow cast by the 56 foot monumental sculpture, Vulcan, the god of beneficial and hindering fire, representing the city’s steel industry in the last two centuries.
She was regaled with haunting stories of molten metal involving her great grandfather fictitiously falling into the caldron of molten steel while inspecting the quality, James William McQueen, who was President of Sloss Sheffield Steel and Iron Company from 1918-1925 until his death from pneumonia in The Waldorf Astoria Hotel during an International Steel Business Conference.
Innovation runs in the family as McQueen invented the by-product coke oven recycling this product into energy and saving African American workers’ lives from the deadly fumes.
After graduating from Los Angeles City College LACC, MacQueen aided by an academic scholarship went to the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLA, where she graduated with a degree from Dickson Art Center in Sculpture, Painting, and Design. She continued on in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education.
Feeling the graduate program was not addressing her goals and desires, she moved to the international sculpting community of Pietrasanta, Italy, snuggled at the base of the Apennine Mountains where Michelangelo’s Marmo di Bianco Puro was quarried 500 years earlier for his Pieta and David. There she was privileged to work and break bread with the highly respected Italian artigiani and well known sculptor/artists such as Isamu Noguchi whom she hosted with Giorgio Angeli at his home and Angeli Laboratorio while also sharing a studio with Noguchi during his creation of his La Biennale di Venezia pieces in 1986.