Anthony Sznakowski

Enriching Lives Through The Visual Arts

Beginning of a New and Exciting School Year

This year is the beginning of my third year as Elementary Visual Art Specialist for Duval County. One thing I’ve learned from my first two years is that things are always evolving in our county. I can say that I’m equally excited about this year as I was during my first year.

We began the school year like we always do, with a big meeting during preplanning week at LaVilla School or the Arts. It’s the only time during the year when we get every art teacher in the county together in one place. The only thing that compares to it are Art Education Conferences. Hope McMath was the keynote speaker and delivered an inspiring message to the Art Teachers of Duval County. She talked about relevance, inclusion and representation, creativity, celebrate and giving voice to lived experiences, fears, and collective aspirations. Every teacher left feeling motivated and inspired to make this the best year ever for their schools, students, selves and community.

I am motivated and inspired to provide the support and resources to the Art Teachers of Duval County this year to make our district the best Arts District in the State of Florida. This will be the best year for the arts. #ArtsAddUp


Focus on Self and Family

It is Spring and with Spring comes “Art Show Season.” This is the time of year where all the district and state shows take place. In my position, I am involved in many aspects of the shows. This often leads to long and sometimes unpredictable days.

Since this time of year is so busy, I try to remember to take time for myself and my family. This weekend the boys and I went on a campout with their Boy Scout Troop. It was a beautiful weekend with the highs in the low 70’s and a chilling 40 degrees at night. One could not ask for more ideal conditions for camping. I enjoy being part of the scouting program and watching my boys grow into young men. They are learning life skills that they may not have learned if they were not part of scouts. I know the experiences they are getting will help shape them into fine young adults.

I also enjoy camping with the scouts because it gives me an opportunity to reconnect with nature and spend a little time in solitude with few distractions. Not so much during the day, but in the evening and early mornings, I often find myself alone with only my thoughts. My camping spot this weekend put me right on the river where I got to experience beautiful sunsets and sunrises. This morning I woke up before the others and got to spend time in solitude. I am a very blessed individual. I have a wonderful family, career I love and I’m surrounded by some of the best people one could hope to know.

During my moment of solitude this morning, I sat thinking about goals and what I wanted to focus on in the next few months.

  • Health- Continue to workout regularly, but focus more on my eating habits.
  • Personal Art- Schedule a time to paint
  • Spend quality time with my family
  • Continue to better myself daily
  • Journal Daily
  • Blog Weekly

My personal art seems to be sacrificed the most when things get busy. In order to create more art, I’m going to stick with drawing and watercolor for a while. I have plenty of inspiration, but I don’t have the motivation. By going back to my two favorite mediums, I hope to start creating more. When I’m not painting, I feel something is missing in my life.



Newest Painting to benefit the Cathedral Arts Project

My most recent painting was inspired by the request of Cathedral Arts Project. I was asked if I had a painting I would like to donate for their upcoming fundraiser. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything I wanted to part with. Instead, I took it as an opportunity to create something new. I decided to use the theme of the fundraiser as my inspiration and developed the painting below. Please consider supporting the  Cathedral Arts Project and their 12th Annual Spring for the Arts. I am a big fan of Cathedral Arts Project and all they do for our students.

“Spring has Sprung” Mixed Media on Canvas 24″x 24″ 2016

Spring Has Sprung Acrylic

Elementary Visual Art Specialist

I am happy to say that I recently started a new job and I am back in the Arts! I am now working as Elementary Visual Art Specialist with Duval County Public Schools. I began on July 1st and I’m loving my job.

One of my main duties is to oversee the elementary art programs and supply professional development opportunities for teachers. My main goal is to help every teacher become the best art instructor possible.

I am looking forward to this school year. I will post photos and commentary and I progress through my first year as Visual Art Specialist.

Fundraiser to support Visual Art Education in Northeast Florida!

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Visual Art Educators Volunteer Time to Raise Money to Support Local Students

The Northeast Florida Art Education Association (NeFAEA) will host its annual fundraising event, Flamingos on the River, on Saturday, May 16, at Jacksonville University’s River House. Proceeds from the event and donations throughout the year directly support the regional chapter of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a national contest that has hosted previous winners such as Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath and John Lithgow.
Visual Art teachers from across Northeast Florida come together to spend their very scarce hours away from the classroom ensuring students have opportunities to participate in exhibitions, compete for college scholarships and perhaps be included in the winner’s circle in New York City each year. According to Gerie Leigh, a retired DCPS educator and NeFAEA board member, “over the past four years, this group has not only revived the local chapter of Scholastics, but also encouraged more than 1,500 students to enter over 3,800 works of art; seen 35 local students win national recognition and awards, and offered more than $1.5 million in college scholarships.”*

This particular event is the largest source of income for the group’s year-round work to support its students and fellow educators. The highlight of the evening will be a silent and live art auction featuring major artists and art educators such as Tony Wood, Mac Truque, Ginger Sheridan and Jason John, who have all generously donated their work to support the next generation of artists. The event will also feature a Jacksonville musical favorite, Tropic of Cancer, who, in their words, specializes in a mix of “jazzy jams, worldly beats and saucy rhythms.”

The $25 price of admission includes entry to the event, plus a complimentary drink ticket, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Click here to purchase your tickets

Flamingos on the River – An Art Auction for the Visual Arts of Northeast Florida
Saturday, May 16, 2015 | 6-8 p.m.
The River House at Jacksonville University
2800 University Boulevard North, Jacksonville, FL 32211

*value based on scholarships offered not those acted upon
Media Contact
Anthony Sznakowski, NeFAEA President

Scholastics Art Awards sponsored by the Northeast Florida Art Education Association

This past week was an exciting one. The past Saturday the Northeast Florida Art Education Association sponsored the North East Florida Scholastic Art Awards. This event brought in hundreds of students and parents from six counties in the North East Florida region.

As President of NeFAEA, I was given the privilege of shaking hands and congratulating each Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention winner personally.

After the award ceremony, students, parents and guests were invited to the Main Library and Cathedral Arts Project’s Community Gallery to view the award winning artwork.

It was a day full of art and enthusiasm.

Leading up to the event I had the opportunity to promote Scholastics Art Awards with an interview on First Coast Connects. You can listen to the interview by clicking this link.