Anne Friesen-Birky

Art Teacher

Where did you grow up?: During my earliest years I lived in Berlin Germany and then Boston Massachusetts.  Eventually, our family moved to the Midwest (Kansas!) where my dad spent his career as a college professor and my mom, a teacher.

How long have you been working with children/teaching?: I have been working with children for over 25 years!  I began my teaching career in the Boulder area with early childhood education, then moved on to teach for quite a while in the Cherry Creek Public Schools as an Elementary Art Specialist.  Finally, I landed at DCP after my own children were a part of this great place.

What led you to a career in education?: I come from a family of enthusiastic educators, so I am used to the rhythm of being involved in education and the world of life long learning.  I have always had a passion for the arts and eventually discovered I could share my passion for the arts through arts education! It also became clear to me that art is such a fantastic way for young people to connect learning and I wanted to be a part of making that happen for even the littlest people.

What is your favorite thing about working at DCP?: I absolutely love seeing the world through the eyes of young children!  The naturally inquisitive, creative, open minds of all the little people at DCP continuously amaze me and keep me looking out at the world.  The fact that DCP embraces family partnerships/involvement is key to what makes DCP unique and unlike any other school I have worked.  Of course, I love collaborating with our interesting and talented staff and feel lucky to be surrounded by such dedicated teachers.

What is your favorite thing to do in the classroom?: I love bringing a new art experience into the classroom and being surprised with where the kids go with it.  I also enjoy capturing all the incredible stories children tell through their artwork.  Finally, I love any learning/artwork that connects to being outside and the natural world!

What are your hobbies or passions outside of DCP?: Taking long walks in my neighborhood/riding my cruiser; travel (far or near – heading up to the mountains is the best); journaling/time with my sketchbook; reading; gardening/growing flowers & herbs; visiting all the great cultural attractions around Denver; music & theater; eating good food; spending time with my family is always a favorite!

Where can we find you in Denver (fav spots, hang outs, places to visit)?: The Botanic Gardens; any museum; neighborhood farmers’ market; local coffee shops and bookstores; Washington Park; my front porch!

Tell us about your family: My immediate family includes my husband Brett, and 2 daughters – Elizabeth (soon to be college sophomore!), and Katie Rose (soon to be a freshman in HS)!  Time flies – both my daughters are DCP alums!  And I can’t forget our beloved dog, Tula. My extended family is also a big part of my life – my sister, parents, nephews & nieces.

What did you want to be when you grew up? For a long time I told people I wanted to be a Park Ranger.  A fashion designer, artist, teacher, and mom also made the list depending on my age.

What do you remember most about being a child?: Time moved so much more slowly and how good that felt – summer evenings playing games outside until dark with the neighborhood kids; walking alone to first grade feeling completely safe walking with only my best friend and feeling no rush, playing along the way (we lived in a small mid-western college town!); simply playing – both with so many good friends, my family, and playing on my own too – making things, playing make believe, . . .

What was your favorite thing to do as a child?: Play outside; draw/make art (I remember I always loved a new set of markers & a big plain sketch pad); going on summer road trips with my family; playing make believe.