Annie Painter was an Art Teacher at Wilson High School during the ’72-74 school years. Photo 1. She was best known for the Art Marketing project, which had Wilson students designing items and services which were saleable in the general marketplace.  Initially she was known as Annie Johnson, but was married midway though this period. High points included an interior decorating project for the public defender’s office and animal costumes for a play, sewed on 100 year old treadle machines. A part of her students were “counter culture” individuals who benefited from Annie’s experience in working with this population; others were top students seeking artistic freedom. She had come to Wilson partly to help with some of the disenfranchised youth of the time. In addition to her teaching experience she had two years at PPS alternative school in the Lair Hill Neighborhood. This school was operated by Annie and founder John Kerr to rescue drug involved students.

Following her Wilson job, Annie moved on to a period of being an artist. She worked in her home-studio on Vermont street and produced a series of soft sculptures, of the type popularized by Claes Oldenburg. A piece of this work which resembled a life size fully set dinner table was shown at the Smithsonian Institution Kitchen show, hosted by the Portland Art Museum. However, she soon tired of working alone, missing the educators and students. She subsequently became the visual and performing arts curriculum developer for Multnomah County IED, an organization which serves all of the county schools by providing in-service training for teachers in special subject areas. She made 6 films for teachers, which were called “The Crafty Annie” series. These lessons were piloted in numerous actual classrooms, with teachers observing the processes. This IED work became the basis of her current career which involves setting up art programs for districts across the nation.

During the time she was transitioning from artist to educator, she took a temporary job with the Portland Children’s Museum for a few weeks to replace an employee on leave. That begin a relationship with the Director of the Children’s Museum, Bob Bridgeford (Wilson 1961). They were married in 1980 and remain together today. Following her marriage, Annie changed jobs again: she returned to school and got an administrative certificate. This led to being hired in the Gresham school system where she served for 13 years, working as the Principal of Powell Valley Elementary and opening Clinton Kelly Elementary.

In 1995 her husband had to resign from the Museum and move to eastern Oregon because of severe allergies.   But not before his daughter, Kristen Bridgeford (Wilson 1991) graduated from high school. As he recovered, he built a house and eventually returned to college to retrain. He earned a counseling degree and now works for Deschutes County Mental health as a therapist, dealing with anxiety and trauma.

Ending her years as a principal, Annie moved to Central Oregon to join Bob, and begin a period of national travel and consulting. She was hired by a foundation which served low income school areas and matched monies with “No child left behind” grants to improve teaching and curriculum in these schools.

Annie wrote two text books for children: Struggling Artist Masterpiece and Vincent and Jake Learn Color Mixing which she used during these trips. The books are still available today at Amazon or at her website anniepainter.com, Photo 2.

Annie and Bob can be found today at their home in Sisters, Oregon, where they live with their two Vizsla dogs, Theo Van Gogh and Alexander (the great) Calder.

Annie’s Wilson students in the art marketing program, 1973: Mark Smith, Susan Wade, Bill Botterton, Chuck Lister, Eric Barnett, Jan Weissberg, Aleen Caplan, Pam Franks, Clella Clifton, Anna Federighi, Roger Eastman, Lisa Wood, Rhonda Dodge, Becky Bussman, Keith Hinsz, Lauren Devecka, Leslie Gass, Julie Peterson, Jane Rudnik, Bill Johnston, Deborah Leopold, Deborah Banks, Sara Goodwin, Rosie Kupersmith, Ann Washburn, Barbara Ploense.

[written by Bob Bridgeford 09/11/2009]