City Council Honors Anne Parr for Decades of Teaching Ceramics

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(Jeff Heyman, Photogarpher)
Anne Parr, who taught ceramics classes at the Orinda Community Center for nearly 50 years, stands outside the kiln room that will now bear her name. The Orinda City Council recently passed a resolution honoring Parr for her years of service and naming the room “Anne J. Parr Clay and Kiln Room.”

    The Orinda City Council, at its Sept. 27 meeting, recognized longtime art teacher and Orinda resident, Anne Parr, in a resolution to name a portion of the Orinda Community Center in her honor.
    Part of Classroom 10 at the Community Center, known affectionately as the “kiln room,” is now named after Parr. Going forward, the room is recognized as the “Anne J. Parr Clay and Kiln Room.” A plaque will be installed to honor Parr for the nearly 50 years she taught children’s clay programs in Orinda and for providing “unforgettable experiences” to innumerable local students.
    Councilmember Amy Worth requested the resolution honoring Parr’s many years of service during a previous City Council meeting. In a report, City staff recommended naming part of Classroom 10 in the Orinda Community Center for Parr, and the Council voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.
    “I am surprised and honored. It has been a privilege to teach all these years,” said Parr. “I mostly feel a sense of perpetuity and longevity about this honor.”
    Parr added, “There are so few who stick around teaching anymore.”
    She moved to the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood 58 years ago, and at age 88, she said it’s been a long ride teaching.
    “I’ve had some great kids – and parents too – over the years, and all those students produced some great art,” she said.
    A general education major from Sacramento, Parr attended U.C. Berkeley and found her path to teaching ceramics through volunteer work while she attended the university.
    In addition to her almost 50 years teaching in Orinda, Parr taught in Lamorinda schools and held ceramics workshops. She stopped teaching in 2020.
    Parr reflected on those with whom she came into contact during her many years of teaching.
    “It’s amazing how many people I run into – old people, young people – who I have taught over the years,” she said. “It really is multigenerational.”
    Among her fondest memories, Parr said it was when students who never wanted to interact with others came to class, worked long hours with other kids and discovered their own creativity.
    “It was a social thing, the kids did all their work in pairs, using tools together, to make clay pieces,” she said.
    “I guess I should have been a contractor, actually,” said Parr. “I’ve covered so many shelves with clay pieces over all these years.”

Jeff Heyman can be reached at heyman.foto@gmail.com.

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