Henrico’s Top Teachers – Anne-Marie Slinkman

The art bug bit Anne-Marie Slinkman early in life, but she didn't consider herself an artist until she reached high school. By the time she entered VCU as an aspiring designer, she had found satisfaction in her ability to express her thoughts in a unique way.

But ultimately, that satisfaction with her own artistic path wasn't lasting. So she turned to teaching as a way to help others discover the wonders of art.

Now in her seventh year as the art teacher at Greenwood Elementary School (following two in Chesterfield County and four at Highland Springs Elementary), Slinkman has found her personal happy zone.

"I just have the most special job in the world," she said. "I never wake up and say, 'I don't want to go to work.' It never gets boring – it's always exciting."

Slinkman works with each class once a week – an average of more than 100 students every day. This year, for the first time, she spends all of her time at Greenwood instead of splitting time at other elementary schools.

She particularly enjoys working with students not just for one year but for many.

"It's probably one of my favorite things, working with all different ages," she said. "I get to see them when they're little and watch them grow.

"Most kids love art – younger children in kindergarten to second grade especially. But as they get older, kids start telling themselves that they're not good at it. That is one of my biggest challenges. Everybody has the ability to create art. Helping them find that joy in making something from nothing, which is really what art is, is what I enjoy."

That philosophy played out in a meaningful way at Greenwood, where Slinkman was struck several years ago by the fact that the windows in her art classroom looked out into the school's courtyard – full of potential, yet empty.

So she wrote a grant proposal to Richmond-based Partners in the Arts, which provides funding for projects that connect core learning with the arts. It was accepted and used to hire a professional artist to paint a student-designed mural of various native Virginia animal habitats. It also helped fund an outdoor learning garden, which initially took shape with the help of students and PTA members.

"The whole school participated in this project so all were impacted, as will be any future students whose teachers utilize the outdoor learning space," a nominator wrote of Slinkman's efforts.

Slinkman tailors many of her lessons and projects to the various disciplines that students are learning in their core subjects so that art can assist with the learning process.

"I really feel that art is one of the few places where a child can find their own unique voice, work through problems, persevere and find solutions that work for them," Slinkman said. "There are certain things in life that we can't express in any other way other than artistically."
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Therapeutic healing


In a room labeled the garden room, a bright space with lavender-colored walls and pebble-gray chairs, art therapist Becky Jacobson might ask her patients to imagine a safe place, but she doesn’t ask them to describe it to her — she wants them to draw it.

The patients are free to draw whatever they envision, expressing themselves through their colored markers, a form of healing through art therapy.

“Some people might not feel safe anywhere because they have had hard things happening to them, and I have the background to help that person reground and feel safe in the group,” Jacobson said. > Read more.

Eight’s enough? Crowded race for 56th District develops


Following the retirement of Delegate Peter Farrell [R-56th District], a number of candidates have thrown their hats into the ring to vie for the open seat in the Virginia General Assembly district, which contains a portion of Henrico’s Far West End.

Democratic challengers include Lizzie Basch and Melissa Dart, while Republican contenders include George Goodwin, Matt Pinsker, Graven Craig, Surya Dhakar, Jay Prendergrast and John McGuire. In addition to a section of Henrico, the district also includes portions of Goochland and Spotsylvania County, as well as all of Louisa County. > Read more.

On the trail to Awareness


Twenty-five teams, composed of some 350 participants, gathered at Dorey Park in Varina April 8 for the Walk Like MADD 5k, to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia. The event raised more than $35,000, with more funds expected to come in through May 7. > Read more.

Leadership Metro Richmond honors St. Joseph’s Villa CEO


Leadership Metro Richmond honored St. Joseph's Villa CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett, a 2003 graduate of LMR, with its 2017 Ukrop Community Vision Award during its annual spring luncheon April 6.

The award honors a LMR member who demonstrates a purposeful vision, a sense of what needs to be done, clear articulation with concern and respect for others with demonstrated action and risk-taking. > Read more.

Glen Allen H.S. takes second in statewide economics competition

Glen Allen H.S. was among six top schools in the state to place in the 2017 Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance.

Taught by Patricia Adams, the Glen Allen H.S. team was runner-up in the Economics division, in which teams faced off in a Quiz Bowl. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

April 2017
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Richard Shindell will perform at 8 p.m. at The Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Rd. An expatriate New Yorker now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Shindell’s eight studio albums and two live recordings have been revered by critics and fans alike. His songwriting is truly eclectic, ranging from lighthearted ballads and adulterous love songs, to dirges and diatribes that skillfully skewer politics, prejudice, war and religion. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For details, call 447-8189 or visit http://www.tinpanrva.com. Full text

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