Anne Richter

Anne Richter

Self Portrait in the Time of ...

I survived growing up in suburbia outside Philadelphia, and got a BFA at Carnegie-Mellon and an MFA at Tyler School of Art. I didn’t develop fully as an artist until I studied with some master teachers at the Art Students League some forty years later. In 1979 I answered a Village Voice ad to join a group buying an old factory building. That unlikely beginning gave me a spacious living and working loft in NYC, which I still occupy. I believe in the power of play. I am passionate about art and the creative endeavors that enhance our lives. I’ve been an art teacher all my life. For 30 years I taught hand built ceramics at Greenwich House Pottery. My dream job was to create a “kindergarten for adults”. That dream turned into my private school called Creative Pathways. For ten years I taught seminars in creativity and facilitated groups in “The Artists Way.” I never made a living as an artist. When I decided to get a divorce I needed a full-time job. Stuck with seven years of art education and now armed with three months of paralegal training I was hired at the Brooklyn DA Office. I got a kick out of answering the phone with “Economic Crime and Arson.” I learned a lot about the outside world and felt good at how successful I was in applying my artist’s skills of dogged focus, broad picture questioning and ever abundant curiosity to this and other jobs. It’s nice to look back at the times I lived in Africa, Italy and Japan. I love to travel. I have enthusiastically, with varying degrees of success, studied six foreign languages. Wherever I am, I’m excited to continue this journey.

POSTSCRIPT - Now, with the Covid Pandemic, my travel has turned inward. This first year of Covid has brought some helpful introspection. I have enjoyed reviewing my life with my now greater understanding of why things happened to me. The woman’s movement helped clarify the growing up in suburbia in the 50’s, but it was the wisdom I have gained from a long active life that helped me rewrite the upsetting events that shook my personal core so that I can now view them, not personally, but as unfortunate human behavior. Trump’s presidency was a goldmine for demonstrating this. My linear resume isn’t a sufficient narrative anymore. The bio I want to write now, at age 80, is one of acknowledgement and gratitude. I want to thank Carnegie-Mellon for giving me so many special opportunities outside the classroom like teaching night, Saturday and summer school as an undergrad, and the chance to run a small experimental dorm without a meal plan, hours, or the dorm matrons. I won a prize to design and paint the set and curtain for Hansel and Gretel for the campus theater. When a Peace Corps recruiter come to campus, Dean Rice recommended he talk to me which eventually led to me teaching for two years in Malawi, Africa. I want to thank Professor Dick Callner and Tyler School of Art for offering me a paid assistantship to their brand-new branch in Rome, Italy. I got free passage because the school sent me as a leader for the students’ homestays under The Experiment in International Living. Rome has become my second home, I love it so. I want to thank the Art Students League of NY for the wonderful teachers. The opportunity to study with painter, Knox Martin for ten years had an unmatched impact on my art. Thanks to four grants awarded me by The League I got to travel in Europe a composite of 6 months and the recognition was empowering. I want to thank Gifford Booth for volunteering to be my mentor as I developed my classes in creativity. His support and advice lead to my ten years of inventive teaching based on playfulness. A dream come true. Lastly, I thank my supportive mate Dan for being such a solid sidekick for the last 25 years and my daughter, who has always believed in me.

THE FAT CANARY