Skilly-do ♥ Creative Early Educators - Anna Podris

2 April 2019

creative early educator anna podris

Meet Anna Podris! Anna has been a creative early educator since 2001, teaching art in and around Raleigh, NC after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design. You can find her giving private art lessons to individual and small groups of children in her Artspace studio as well as leading classes and camps with Wild@art Kids and the North Carolina Museum of Art. You can connect with Anna directly on Facebook here, Instagram @annapodris, and find her artwork and schedule here her website: Or, simply stop by her Artspace studio (shared with her husband and fellow Skilly-do Creative Early Educator, Keith Norval) and take a gander at her fantastical paintings yourself!

Why did you want to teach young children about art?  

At first it was a way for me to have a part time job in the arts to support my painting career.  I got a job teaching art at the Raleigh Girls Club. The longer I taught, the more I became attached to the girls I was teaching. They were so creative and so open minded in their creativity. I was inspired. I also felt good to be bringing opportunities and experiences that some of them may not have had access to otherwise. The more I became familiar with what the girls liked to make and their abilities I enjoyed coming up with projects for them. The best projects are ones that leave an opening for possibilities.

What’s your favorite type of media or art form that you like to make with children?

I like doing bird related art. Really anything nature inspired. I like to get the kids outside, observing the world around them. Kids these days need to connect with nature. Art helps them make the connection through observation.

As far as media I like to keep mixing it up. I like to keep trying new things and keep it fresh. Though I like to include a sketching and drawing element in projects because it helps with hand eye coordination and with observational skills.

I like to let kids choose their own colors always. Color expression can be so personal. I love to see the combinations kids come up with.

What kind of art do you make for yourself?  

I do oil and encaustic paintings.  My work is mostly from my imagination. I paint forests, woodland creatures, birds and dogs. Also imaginary cityscapes. My work has an element of surrealism or magic realism at times. I enjoy creating vibrant color harmonies and using some symbolism with animals and nature.

What advice would you give parents on how to encourage their creativity in art activities?

Make sure the kids know there is no right or wrong in art. Mistakes aren't a sign of failure. They are part of the creative process.

Parents should proudly display art projects in the home. Compliment the kids not just on the beautiful finished product but also the creativity that went into making something original. They should complement the kid also on having the self discipline to stick to the project and finish it.

Have plenty of art supplies available for kids. Make sure art time happens before screen time.

What is the most rewarding part of your work with children?

Seeing their beautiful creations. Having a part in setting the stage for a lifetime of creative thinking. Building their confidence in their choices.

Feeling inspired?

Bring along a healthy Walking Apple Sandwich when your take your little one outdoors to observe the world around you. While you’re at it, bring some greenery indoors and create Wild and Weedy Prints. Want to find out more about how exploring the great outdoors supports your child’s early skills? Read on in our article, Outside Education - Nature Preschools!

Know an amazing creative educator that works with children ages 2 to 4 years old?

Please do send us your recommendations:! And we're always glad to know what you think-- you can give us your feedback right here.