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“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” John Keats

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

~~~~~~~~ TOMORROW - Saturday July 30, 1-6pm IN RED HOOK!!! ~~~~~~~

We are thrilled that our mural A Rebirth Of Wonder, a directional banner and individual paintings inspired by the Ferlinghetti poem "I am Waiting" are included in More Art of Coney Island curated by BWAC co-president Alicia Degener opening at BWAC on Saturday July 30, 1-6pm. Also included in the exhibit are works by ART YARD Teaching Artists Candy Heiland, Meridith McNeal, and Marie Roberts. There will be Magicians & Mermaids performing from 4pm on!!!

Exhibition preview ART YARD Summer Session (left) and Marie Roberts (right)

The opening is free and open to the public.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We hope you will join us! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our third and final week and of ART YARD Summer Session 2022 was a special one for many reasons! Topping the list was that ART YARD Artists Eden Moore, August Levenson and Zeke Brokaw achieved Teaching Artist status!

Teaching Artists (!!!) Eden Moore, August Levenson and Zeke Brokaw

This is a big deal, and these talented young artists did not disappoint. They worked really hard with Dennis perfecting their lessons, each selecting meaningful topics and artwork as inspiration for their lessons. They made sample projects and wrote lesson plans which prepared them to present their ideas clearly, articulately and with personal flair. Their success is evidenced by the wonderful artwork created in these sessions.

Managing Director Dennis Buonagura sheds light in the process: “I think it’s always important for all AYB participants to understand the process of lesson plan development and execution. While the reasons may differ from my standpoint to theirs, all concerned had valuable input.

Dennis carefully records information about artwork created in class

We never let anyone think that creating a lesson plan is easy. It’s NOT! Just ask some of our teaching artists - even those who’ve been teaching for years. We covered the thought process, finding inspiration, materials, timing (vital!), creating samples where necessary, providing images, and - the big one - how the lesson relates to our theme. Sometimes, during summer sessions, themes are bridged from last year to upcoming year.

Eden, August and Zeke completed excellent lesson plans and were open to suggestions - kind of “constructive criticism” without the criticism - and proved themselves to be terrific with class and time management.”


Eden summarizes her first of two lessons: “On Monday, I taught a lesson using watercolor to represent querencías - Spanish for places from which you derive strength, warmth and inspiration. I was really surprised and proud of the calm aura it created in the room and how that feeling was extended into the use of warm colors and the creation of loving environments, especially evident with Assata and Elizabeth’s work. Even making the sample made me feel more confident in watercolor than I have been in a very long time, and it started the week off on a very positive note.”

Assata and Elizabeth at work

Marilyn adds: “Eden explained her topic “querencia”, in Spanish refers to the place in an arena where a bull might stand in a defensive stance before a bullfight beings. Extending that, the word comes from “querer”, to want. So the lesson was based around a place where we might want to be for strength, for comfort, for peace. We were to find our personal “querencia” and use water colors to create/represent that place. For Eden, her example was a watercolor of beautiful hydrangeas, her favorite flower. Questions: What’s important to you? A place? Symbolic? Sketch in pencil first, then watercolor, sign the piece.”

Eden Moore, Querencia

Marilyn August, Querencia

Zeke Brokaw, Querencia

Meridith McNeal, Querencia

Elizabeth Morales, Querencia

Delphine Levenson, Querencia

Assata Benoit, Querencia

August Levenson, Querencia


On Tuesday August was at the helm. August reports: “We explored the pier of Red Hook looking for beauty in the dichotomy between the man made and the natural. Spending our time outside on the docks, artists learned to respect the balance in our art world between the artificial and pure that we see in Red Hook. Examining the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in this neighborhood, we were able to correctly identify the extreme effect of nature in conjunction to the brick and mortar nature of BWAC and the surrounding area. Many artists took inspiration from the landscape of the river in front of us, while some, myself included took inspiration from the nearby park area next to the pier jetty. Ultimately, our artists created spectacular work, far exceeding expectations as we explored our Planet Earth from our little town of Red Hook.”

Marilyn explains: “August introduced the lesson, citing the beauty of the pier and the landscape/seascape where we are in Red Hook. For illustration, August showed photographs which captured scenes in the Red Hook area after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when many Brooklyn neighborhoods were devastated by flooding. We were instructed to take inspiration from the natural as well as the artificial, perhaps incorporating the local architecture and the beautiful estuary. August encouraged us to think about the presence of man-made creations and Nature as we move into the year of Planet Earth at ART YARD. What is new about today’s lesson is that it is “observational”. It was the perfect day to be outside painting along the water’s edge."

Plein Air paintings by Zeke Brokaw, Sigrid Dolan, Meridith McNeal, Marilyn August, Elizabeth Morales, Eden Moore, August Levenson, and Delphine Levenson (in order of appearance above.)

After gathering materials, paints, brushes, water cups, paper, drawing boards, we headed to the waterfront. Since the weather had cooled, it was the perfect day for “plein air” painting. Spreading out on benches along the path and in the lovely park, there were spectacular views overlooking the water to the Statue of Liberty, NJ, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the city skyline or the tranquil trees and gardens in the park.


Eden was back to work on Wednesday as she presented a lesson on the concept of synesthesia – when one experiences one of their senses through an other – for our purposes today: seeing sound. For her presentation Eden set up her laptop for all to view two very well chosen videos on Fleetwood Mac and Kendrick Lamar.

Eden presents Fleetwood Mac video

Marilyn summarizes beautifully: “in preparation for this lesson, Eden had asked us to pick a song we liked that would be used for inspiration for our projects today. To start, we went around the table and named our songs, comprising an eclectic mix including an old standard, rock-and-roll oldies, and contemporary tunes. Eden discussed “synesthesia”, a condition she has in which she sees colors associated with words and also with people. She sees me as yellow. Next was a presentation of videos about producing music and the art of creating great music through layering of instrumentation and voices. I found it a fascinating prelude to our art-making.”

Molly Willis, Synesthesia (Wonderfully Bizarre - Bendigo Fletcher)

Sigrid Dolan, Synesthesia I, II & III (Bladee, Woodkid and Björk)

Meridith McNeal, Synesthesia (Valleys of Neptune - Jimi Hendrix)

Marilyn August, Synesthesia (Simply the Best - Tina Turner)

Elizabeth Morales, Synesthesia (Pursuit of Happiness - Kid Cudi)

Delphine Levenson, Synesthesia (Run Boy Run - Woodkid)

Zeke Brokaw, Synesthesia (Vice City - GT and Babytron)

Christine Willis, Synesthesia (This Is How We Walk On The Moon - Jose Gonzalez)

Eden adds: “I was so pleased that there were so many compliments to my introductory presentation - with videos on Fleetwood Mac and Kendrick Lamar and how they create their art (particularly Kendrick’s parallels to Gordon Parks). What made my heart swell most was Delphine telling me how great it was to be a part of my lesson because music dictates so much of her life - just as it does mine."


Zeke had the distinction of teaching the class on the last day of Summer Session. That meant that there was a festive feeling to the day as we also celebrated Marilyn’s birthday and wrapped up another successful ART YARD Summer Session with a pot luck feast!

Zeke presents his lesson

Admittedly nervous to make his very first foray into the role of teaching artist, Zeke took an approach I really recommend, which is to start with an artist or artwork you admire. This means there is a passion at the core of the idea that generally translates well to enthusiastic presentation. Zeke introduced us to the work of Italian artist Federico Babina who transforms iconic works of art from Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, to Piet Mondrian by reinterpreting famous artworks as cross-sectional drawings of buildings in his series Archist.