About

My name is Anita Horton.

I am motivated to be an instrument of change. I’ve been told by some people that I remind them of the Tracy Chapman song, “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution”. This was a great compliment when I received these words. I am an encourager, especially for people to be strong and brave. I am a lover of learning and a teller of tales. I am a collector of information and a researcher extraordinaire. I am a maker of lists and a generator of ideas. I am an inventor. A collaborator. A mobilizer.

Roughly, the first half of my life was spent in the show-me state of Missouri. I was raised by a seamstress and a farmer. Both my parents lived through the Great Depression and found a use for every kind of thing before throwing it out. Holes in the knees of jeans got a patch, old tires became sandboxes, old dress shoes became fancy cars for my dolls and snow was made into ice cream. Growing up in the country with little to do on lazy summer days created fertile soil for my imagination.

Everything that came after that is fairly routine: School. Degree. Family. Career. And then I won a trip to Paris and London and my whole life changed. I fell hopelessly in love with seeing the world. And this is where my story begins. . .

I have been working as a professional artist since 1982. I have worked in the advertising and graphic design field for 15 years. I have taught art full time for 14 years. No one ever wonders where they stand with me. I easily share my opinions and don’t engage in head games.

My story is that I am a single, middle-aged female, an artist and a teacher and I have found a way to travel and see the world on a limited budget. My goal is to encourage others to use their talents, live every day passionately and purposefully and to live adventure-filled lives. I experience beauty in the world through remarkable people and places that are different from me and all that I’ve ever known.

This blog will serve as a file cabinet of information on art and the importance of it in our world and in individual lives of people. I will look at beauty and reflect on it and inspire the world to find beauty in even the banal.

Additionally, this blog will serve as a treasure box of discoveries and opportunities for teachers that I’ve uncovered that will encourage lifetime learning, joy and creative expression. I will work to provide a creative program of study about the places I travel to and experience.

This blog will also serve as a resource for gaining inexpensive international travel options that will expand your vision of what’s possible. I will share my resources and I will encourage my readers to “live large” and make the most of every day you have left on this great and wonderful planet Earth.

And finally, my readers will partner with me to experience my joys and heartaches of making a decision that caused me to leave my home, my country and my most loved job as a middle and high school art teacher in Texas, to move abroad and teach in an international school on another continent.

Happy reading. I look forward to you making this journey with me. I am very grateful if you decide to follow my blog and I encourage you to write me with questions and comments.

anitajohorton at me dot com

69 thoughts on “About

  1. La Femme Artiste says:

    Hello Anita,
    How about us life-experienced folks, who are interested in the adventure of international art-teach-travel?
    I have 2 BAs and a 2+ decade-long career in the arts, that includes 6 years of volunteer teaching art.
    If you have pointers for folks like me, I’d love to attend an international job fair.

    • Hello La Femme Artiste, Thank you for writing. I want to be sure I understand your question. Are you asking how to begin a career in teaching art? If so, I would advise you to earn a certificate to teach art. I graduated from university many years ago with a BFA in Ceramics. In addition, simultaneously, I somehow had enough sense to also take the required education courses to get a teaching certificate. At that time, in the 1980’s, you were given a “lifetime certificate”. As I understand it, that has now changed and teachers are now required to take a test every 5 years or so to keep their certificate valid. WITH THAT SAID, some schools will hire teachers that are not certified. Many times these are local, national, public schools that are trying to teach English to their native speaker students. I do not recommend this route. It is my understanding that certified teachers are sought for the most reputable schools. If you want to teach English, and not Art, you could earn a CELTA or TEFL certificate. Many companies that do the training for these kinds of certificates will also help place you. The reputable international teaching job agencies that hold job fairs require teachers to have a valid teaching certificate and a minimum of 2 years classroom teaching experience. I will soon be writing about the International Schools Review (ISR) https://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/. You can find out a lot of information by searching through their Open Forum on this topic. Teachers from all over the world contribute to this forum. You can read for free, but if you want to post a specific question, you have to pay. I hope this helps. Good luck to you!

  2. Johnna Palmatier says:

    Hello Anita,
    I am an elem. art teacher and have loved teaching my little ones for 9 yrs. I would like to travel to get to see different cultures and different art. Also, I would love to teach in another Country. Do you know how I can go about doing this?

    • Answering your question is the entire reason I wrote this blog. How to do it” is told, step by step, through the weeks of my pursuit of the same thing. This blog is the chronicle of my journey.

      • mczaja@eacs.k12.in.us says:

        I would love the opportunity to teach art abroad. Can you please email me how to get started? I’ve been teaching for 12 years and would love an opportunity like this!

      • Hello! I have not been on my blog for about one year and today I found your message. Sorry for the late response. If you look in the archives of my blog, you will find how to get started. Good luck!

      • hiyaczaja says:

        I would love some tips on how to teach art abroad! Can you please contact me?

      • Hello! I have not been on my blog for about one year and today I found your message. Sorry for the late response. If you look in the archives of my blog, you will find how to get started. Good luck!

  3. Hi Anita! Please tell us about your summer (back in the States, I am presuming, in San Diego maybe?). I know you were sick during the last quarter of school and then I lost track of you. Can’t find your email either. 😦 Hope you are well and preparing for another fabulous year in Istanbul. I am back in Abu Dhabi and have moved to the Elementary Technology Teacher position. Wahoo! Hope to hear from you soon. – Suzanne from the Boston 2013 Fair

  4. Amy says:

    Dear Anita,

    Your blog is really inspirational for me and the way you respond to all the comments really gives me a warm impression. I’m a 24 year old recent college graduate with a BFA (animation and film), but I felt very burned out creatively after graduation, and was looking to go in another direction. Currently I am in my first year at an IB high school here in China. With very little education training (not certified…but researching online and alternative routes back home…very confusing), and as the only art teacher here, it is pretty sink or swim. But I love my students and I want to improve!

    Since I graduated and went straight to teaching art, I don’t have my own practice, and I feel that is also another weakness. I’m at a loss as to how to find the art world in a foreign country though; do you have any advice for me? I think being around all my creative students has made me more determined to start a practice…

    Anyways, I have questions for you and would love advice or thoughts. Thanks so much for taking the time to put your story online =)

    • Hi, Amy!!! Thank you for reading my blog and writing to me. Congrats on your BFA! Wow, without a teaching certificate you are super LUCKY to have found a job in an IB World School. Getting experience at your current school will open many doors for you, but remember, many/most will require a teaching certificate. Are you teaching IB? I teach PYP, and this is my first year also. It has been sink or swim for me too, but I’m a lot older than you and have more working experience and more experience in “life” dealing with people and systems. I know it is tough! I just got home after working an 11 hour day! Whew! The kids are amazing at my school Over 50 countries are represented. It is wild!

      I do have my own practice of art. I’ve been an artist for 30 years and I have always worked on my own work. Here in Istanbul, I am so constantly overwhelmed visually, I never know quite where to start. When I first arrived here, I started with my iPhone camera and simply absorbed all the new, cultural sights that I experienced. I’m lucky b/c Istanbul is an enormous city and the contemporary art scene is very valid and thriving. There are so many galleries here I could never see them all. The museums are amazing! I have, after 6 months, started producing some of my own art and I’m happy about that. The problem is, is that there’s so much to do here, I can’t get disciplined to work on art—I always want to go out! But I do have two series started of paintings. All I can say is, “Just start.” Once you start, you will know what to do next.

  5. Carin says:

    Hi!
    I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I am 31 and a first year art (and drama, it’s a long story) teacher at a smallish Colorado valley town. I have had the travel bug since moving to Colorado in 2007 from Kansas City with my now husband. I have always wanted to expand my understanding of the world through getting out there and seeing and working in it. The first year of teaching is harder than I thought with little to no support. I am finding myself getting bogged down with the school politics and questioning my career path already (and yet it’s only February) This is taking up more of my brain than actually teaching about art and life lessons and connecting with the kids (the real and only reason I got into teaching:) So now Im finding myself contemplating my next steps and trying to get back to the core of why I chose the teaching path in the first place. Your blog is inspirational and has helped me see the other ways I can use my skills. Could you recommend a resource for me to look into to teaching art abroad? I see “teach english abroad” sites everywhere and I do love english I’m just not certified in it (art is my first love). Any info would be fantastic, keep up the good work!
    Carin

    • Dear Carin,
      Unfortunately, most schools bog teachers down with school politics and meetings and duties and a host of other things that seem to prevent you from doing art with the kids. There is often many evenings and weekends spent preparing your lessons. Yes, we “get off” for several months in the summer, but we likely have put in the same amount of hours during the year, after and before school days. Ah, the life of a teacher. That part doesn’t change after moving overseas. In some ways it is even worse than what I experienced in the USA. As you become a more experienced educator you will learn how to manage your time better and how to make the most of every moment. I spent almost two years writing my blog with every morsel of information I could give young teachers like yourself. If you read my blog, especially under the Archive listings of “Teach”, you will find out everything I know. I would like to encourage you to stay in it. The first year is the absolute hardest. You keep getting better and better. It is a worthwhile career.

  6. sierrabusch says:

    Thanks so much! I think we have it worked out, it will just take some tough long-distance, but I know it is well worth it! Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement 🙂

  7. sierrabusch says:

    Thank you so much for the quick reply! I got my B.A. in Fine Art and Business this past May. I’m not necessarily looking for teaching positions, just any art-related program, job, internship, or gig I can get my hands on as a means of getting abroad and learning! You have a lot of posts and I read a few, but I will look for the Teach ones and read them 🙂 Again, I do not have any certified teaching experience, but I have taught art for a few weeks in an Elementary school in Italy, and have taught art and dance at small art centers in the US. I’m just wondering if you have any resources to share that would help me find different options that would open doors for me to spend time in Europe while progressing my career somewhat. Thank you!

    • Dear Sierra, I only know about art teaching positions and how to do that! What I can recommend is doing LOTS of research first. All countries have their own laws on who can work in their countries. Each country has a host of rules and regulations about who can get a Visa and how long it is good for. There are many, many art residency programs, however, and that would probably be a good place for you to start. I also know that Christie’s in NYC offers internships overseas. I always thought that would be really cool to do. Additionally, many people get their CELTA certification to teach English overseas. This can open up MANY doors in MANY countries. This is the time to flap your wings and go, go, go. Hopefully your love bug will be supportive of you. If you don’t do it, not having done so will haunt you the rest of your life. Not even kidding. Been there; done that. Go. Do it.

  8. sierrabusch says:

    Hi Anita! I am a 23 year old who also discovered a desire to have long-lasting experiences abroad and not settle for society’s definition of “career path” and “success”. I am deeply struggling at the moment between love and travel. If we both compromise, I could go for 6 months, but I know if I didn’t have to factor in another person, I would be taking off for a full year and likely staying longer. I was just wondering if you have any advice towards this predicament and more importantly, if you could share some resources that could help me find programs abroad. I mostly want to go to europe (italy) but I know programs are limited there because it isn’t impoverished (comparatively). I am an artist and want to own an art center one day so anything from teaching art to working in a gallery..I’m not really sure what my options are. I just a need a little guidance to get me started on my research! I know you are probably really busy, but if you do have a minute, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you! Thanks so much Anita!

    • Hi, Sierra,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and writing me. 🙂 My daughter is 23 years old and she is in love also. I’m sorry for your dilemma…it is a difficult one to figure out. I can only speak from experience, which I’ve written about in my early posts of the blog. My blog is my complete, honest story about everything I know about getting a teaching job overseas, and you are the EXACT kind of young person that I was hoping to attract to my blog. If only these kinds of opportunities were available when I was your age! I am now 54 years old. Are you a college graduate with a teaching degree? The way you answer this question will help me advise you. Until I know this answer, please click on my “Archives” tab, then, starting with the oldest posts and going forward in time, read every single post that has been categorized as “TEACH”. You will learn so much! I’ve given away 5 years of research in my blog. I’m confused if you are an art teacher or artist, and my answer to you would depend, again, how I advise you. Know this, everything is possible. Every single thing.

  9. Hannah Long says:

    Hey, Ms. Horton! It is Hannah Long(: I miss you a lot, and it sounds like you are having a great time! Please email me when you get a chance. I love you<3

  10. LaMetra says:

    Greetings,

    You truly inspire me to manifest my destiny/purpose. I admire your strength and your gift. I am anECE educator, an artist, and a lover of cultural diversity and travel as well. I goal is to infuse the there. Then will my life be fulfilling. I have divinely come across your blog. I can go on and on… I thank you for sharing your journey.

    Be well,
    LaMetra

    • Dear LeMetra,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I am so glad that you came across my blog. I want to encourage you to peruse your purpose. I cannot think of a better way to infuse your love of education, art and diversity than to do what I’m doing! –Teach in an international school overseas, in a culture that is not your own. My blog will tell you how. That’s why I began the blog– to help others do this! All the best to you.

  11. Stephi says:

    Dear Anita!

    As I saw your blog and what you are doing, I was very impressed! It’s exactly what I want to do with my life: teach art and travel.
    I am 22 years old, living in Berlin at the moment, applying for the university of art, wondering what future will bring…

    If you have time to answer me some questions, I would really appreciate that!

    In which countries did you teach already? How long did you usually stay at one place?
    Did you ever have language problems? Is it also possible to teach art without speaking the same language fluently?
    How did you get to your jobs? Did you study art / education?

    What was your most beautiful experience as an art teacher?
    Is it difficult to realize this kind of life style – what do you think is the “price” for it, what is the benefit?

    Thank you very much and have a nice day! And continue what you’re doing!

    Stephi

    • Dear Stephi,
      Thank you for reading my blog and for the encouraging words. I would love to encourage you to follow your dreams. To answer your questions: I have only been a full-time teacher for 12 years and I have only taught in the USA/Texas. The teaching assignment that I have accepted will be my first experience teaching abroad. The school that I have been hired into is an English-speaking school, although I plan to take language lessons so that I can communicate with the people in my new city. It is an international school. I’m not sure what to expect, as there will be over 40 nationalities, but it is an English-speaking school. We’ll see! 🙂

      My degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Certification to Teach Art, Kindergarten through grade 12. My concentration fine arts area, in college, was three-dimensional art. If you will look in the section on my blog called “Archive” (at the top) you can scroll through all my articles and pay special attention to the ones that I’ve tagged “TEACH”. For many years of my career, I was an Art Director and Graphic Designer. I also have years of experience at being a professional artist.

      It’s hard to choose my most beautiful experience as an art teacher but one of them has to be witnessing the look of complete wonder, joy and pride in my students’ faces as they create beautiful works of art that they cannot believe they made! They are so talented!

      All the best to you! You will never regret showing others how to fall in love with art, but let me warn you, it’s a lot of hard work!

      • Stephi says:

        Hello Anita!

        Thank you so much for your reply! I like the art works you’re doing with your students! As you said, they are really talented! 🙂 I wrote a small article about your blog, I hope that’s ok: http://kunst.krimi-tick.de/2013/05/art-teach-travel/

        How does your moving to the new city go?

        I had exams at the UdK in Berlin last week and hopefully can start studying in October art and education! But before I will go to organize art-workshops for kids from 6 to 16 in INDIA!! 😀 Its unbelievable! I just applied for that job and I got it!

        If you dont mind it would help me to get some more informations about the projects you’re showing on your website. Do you have an Email or something?
        It would be great to exchange experiences and ideas virtually trough the world! 🙂

        Good night,
        Stephi

  12. Lynn says:

    Well, I have to follow you, too! Today at school Adria told me of your plans. I’ve just got to say, “YOU GO, GIRL!!” Lynn Glover

    • Hi, Lynn! Thank you for following the blog. I hope you enjoy it. This will definitely be the best way to keep up with me. I am so excited about my plans I can’t see straight! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!

  13. Sharon Bush says:

    Brandon’s post was so sweet and touching(he’s like my second son), and I loved your response. They both made me cry.

    I can’t wait to hear about all the wonderfully exciting things you are doing with your students in Turkey!

  14. brandon says:

    When you told us today at school i was both sad and very happy that you will be going after your dream. On my very first day of art in 5th grade i knew it was what i wanted to do. when i got you again this year i was over exited and ready for my first day of 2D/3D. when i walked in it was just as i imagined. i couldn’t wait to have you again in sculpture class in high school. even though i wont get to continue my journey with you it will keep going. i will be praying for you every night and hoping your journey will go perfectly. i will be checking in on your progress with this blog(by the way a great idea).

    • Dear, sweet, Brandon! I love you and your thoughtful post made me cry. You are experiencing the exact same emotions I am experiencing. It’s weird to have both sad and happy feelings happening at the same time. You are special to me and I know you would have ended up being one of those seniors in high school that I make friends with and stay in touch with forever. So, let’s just make that happen a few years early. 🙂 I also knew, when you were in 5th grade, that you had tons of creative talent. What makes you so super special is your ability to listen to critique, not take it personally, trust me and continue making discoveries with your artwork. You are a GREAT art student and I do NOT want you to not take art simply for the dumb reason that I won’t be there. All the TCA teachers are super great and you will learn so much from them. You have been an awesome 2d3d Art student. Your presence in my classroom automatically makes it a special place. I’m already thinking about a way to have my next year’s foreign-student class do a collaborative project with you guys. Wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe you students could trade artworks and become technology pen pals with one another. Do you like that idea? And as far as you and I are concerned, let’s Skype!!! I want to stay in touch with you and your family. Let me talk with your parents about that possibility. You can keep me up to date with what you’re doing. With all the technology available, surely we can find a way to stay connected, don’t you agree? I will be praying for you every night too. You are amazing, Brandon…so talented in football and in art! Lucky you!!

  15. Suzanne says:

    Anita, are you here in Boston? I don’t know how to find you. My Google Voice is 719-357-5837. Call me or email me and we’ll try to connect in Cambridge about how your fair is going! Suzanne

    • Hey, Suzanne!! I really appreciate the effort you took to come meet me! I wish you loads of luck in Abu Dhabi! Please keep in touch!!! Let’s continue our conversation about the change of mail address… xo

  16. Alejandra says:

    I know exactly what you mean about traveling opening your eyes. I was originally from Mexico…raised there most of my life. Then I went to Canada. And Boston. And now I live in Seattle and plan on going to Europe one day. Don’t know when…but…some day! 😀

    • Hello! I saw that you liked my blog and I’ve been looking yours over. Very nice work! You certainly do know what I mean about traveling. Keep dreaming about Europe…you will LOVE it!

  17. Jenny Walker says:

    Anita, my name is Jenny Walker….or as you may remember me …..Jenny Farthing…..I love your blog….I, too, am an art teacher. I teach in Rogers, AR at a large high school. I also love to travel and have been to Europe many times……you’re going to love this…..I have been on 7 Rick Steve’s tours…..I go with his groups to learn the ropes of a country and then return on my own……I am also familiar with Chris G…..this past summer I met a group in Todi, Italy for a painting workshop…..(artendeavors.org…click on european workshops….that’s Nina and myself contemplating an artistic decision) Anyway, I have enjoyed reading your posts. Jenny

  18. […] resource for brave artists, teachers and travelers who prefer to live life differently HomeAboutArchivesArtworkQualificationsResumePhilosophy of Art EducationSamples of […]

  19. […] now, years later, I’m asking the same question: Should I stay or should I go? This time, I’m talking about my job, the Dallas art scene, my home in Texas and my country. […]

  20. Julie Horner says:

    only just discovered this dear Anita! You never cease to amaze me, and this is just beautiful! I so look forward to reading your stories and adventures and hope to join you on the way!xx

  21. belocchio says:

    I do believe you are setting quite a few woman on an interesting new journey. In this life we do not know how many people we touch. We do have a responsibility to be as positive, sharing, and inspirational as possible. Oh yes, and smile. Smile a lot. Virginia

  22. Claudia says:

    It is the morning of a cold, grey, dark and dull day. Still in bed, I made up my mind to be depressed today, for wihich I have at least three very good reasons, no, wait, four. So, what the heck, a little self pitty should be allowed once in a while. I should not have broused your page, now that I have come across ABOUT, you got me thinking about making this day into an adventure. Thank you. I will miss you so badly in Exmore. Hope to see you soon.
    Claudia

    • Sweet friend, How thrilled I am that I helped drag you out of the pit of depression! Hallelujah! 🙂 I have at least three of my own reasons to be depressed too, but we have to bear each others’ burdens and continue to shine the light. Yes! Adventure! And you are so good at it! I can’t stand the thought of you being in Exmore and me being in hot Texas. blah. xoxoxo Come see me!!!!!

  23. Gloria Ball says:

    Anita, what would you say if I told you my junior high art teacher squelched my artistic bent when she held up my work in front of the class and remarked that it was the worst art she’d ever seen? I never took another art class until after I retired from teaching. Then I went to the Springfield Art Museum for a drawing class and that teacher told me I had talent. Two or three art teachers at Ozark had mentioned my artistic bent when they would come into my classroom and see how I had different displays on the walls. I loved studying art in my humanities classes in college.

    • Sadly, what I would tell you is that I often hear that kind of story. 😦 Tragic. I’m so sorry your enthusiasm for art making was put on hold for a few years but I am also very glad that you were brave and signed up for a drawing class later in life and found success! Making art is one of the ways that sets us apart from all other species on the planet. God, himself, is a creator, and we are made in His image. Of course we’re all a talented bunch! 🙂 All the best…

  24. Wow! I’m speechless. I came across your blog via my friend’s site: altmagic.com … I don’t know what to say other than I feel a little bad that I’m 42 and a home-bound artist. I would love to travel and gain new experiences but — there’s always that “but” in there that makes things complicated, yet it’s no excuse. I shouldn’t feel bad! More power to you! And more power to me! We all find ways to do what we can with what we got, right?

    I’m motivated now to write more and do more… if only I weren’t so tired. Ugh. LOL

    • Dear Valentina, thank you for your comments. Don’t feel bad! You’re young! You can do anything you want to do. No negative thoughts allowed, only dreams and goals and positive energy. Yes, more power to you and me! Go change the world with gratitude.

  25. Mendy Hayes says:

    Anita, I am completely hooked! You are such a beautiful writer and person. I loved reading and getting to know you better. Wow! Thank you for sharing!!

    • Mendy, you have no idea how this pleases me. Thank you, friend. Please consider subscribing. Also please consider “liking” it or “sharing” on your wall on facebook (both of these are options under the Comment section). I am very serious about getting subscribers and followers b/c it will help me get to the next best thing. 🙂

  26. Heather W-M says:

    Wow! Go Anita! I look forward to meeting you.

  27. Sherry Houpt says:

    Congratulations on your launch! I read some of the posts, and concur whole-heartedly. We are “cut from the same cloth”. Although I don’t have a blog or personal website, if you read my Artists Statement on http://ahacollective.weebly.com/, you will see our common bond. I’ve loved getting to know your from the Nasher Sculpture Center Teacher Advisory board. Would love to do a trip with you someday!

    • Dear Sherry,
      Thank you so much for reading and your comment! I read your Artist Statement and I think we are more alike than we even knew! 🙂 I have also loved getting to know you through the NTAB and look forward to our friendship growing. Let’s plan a trip! 🙂

  28. Tiffanie Mutlu says:

    I loved reading all of this. You are so gifted in so many ways. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your upcoming journeys.

  29. Terie Beth Dillard says:

    Congratulations! It’s so inspirational, interesting and informative!!!! Can’t wait to read more. Way to go!!!!!!

  30. Simply inspiring, my friend…BRAVO!!!!

  31. Congrats on the launch and birthing a beautiful baby.

  32. Congrats on the launch. Beautifully done.

  33. Barringer Vicki says:

    Oh, Anita! I am in! I will be following you (at least figuratively, if not literally)! What an inspiration! With my children grown, I finally have my life back and I have pulled out my dusty art supplies and started to act on my ideas and intentions. I’ve only just begun….

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