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A Time of Transformation - Weekly Recap 11/30/18

Updated: Dec 8, 2018

Greetings artists, students, parents, teachers, administrators and friends:

I am thrilled to let you know our Phoenix Plan has hatched as ART YARD BKLYN.

Change is inevitable. However, transformation, the sprout-wings-and-learn-to-fly variety, takes some work. We are up to the challenge. ART YARD BKLYN is aflutter with what will certainly be a Time of Transformation!

Partnering with our friends at Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook Brooklyn, we are starting with two school partnerships, MS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens and PS 770 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Working with our wonderful Web Consultant Roger Dapiran, we have launched our website ART YARD The site will give you insight into our philosophy and goals, and it will be the home of my weekly recaps. You can sign up to receive a notice when post are updated via our website. Just enter your email address at the bottom of any page on web site.


We have just completed our first week of programming at our partnership school PS 770 where we are running two simultaneous programming cycles. Fatima and Dennis are working with Pre-K, Kindergarten and First grade classes and Quentin and I are working with Pre-K, Kindergarten and First grade classes.

In this premiere segment of ART YARD BKLYN’s partnership with The New American Academy (PS 770 in Crown Heights), students (known as "friends" at this school) worked with Teaching Artist Fatima Traore on transforming still life objects into beautiful pencil drawings.

Fatima led Pre-K-ers, Kindergartners and 1st graders in a discussion about our Time of Transformation theme. Many offered their ideas about changes in nature (seasons, leaves, dark skies to bright skies) and animals (caterpillars to butterflies), moods, colors and simply growing up.

On each table were arrangements of pumpkins, gourds, flowers in vases and various objects in different shapes and sizes. Using pencil on Bristol paper, students identified the shapes and drew what they saw and from which angle they viewed the objects. Details were added after all shapes were re-formed to look like the still life objects.

Fatima demonstrated how to see and draw items that overlapped, discussed size and scale and led smart rounds of critique. In the kindergarten class, Mateo explained to his classmates about comparing, contrasting and how to properly pay a compliment. At only six years old, he certainly knows how to command an audience!

All learned the meaning and proper usages of these vocabulary words: transformation, change, still life, heptagon (well, that word was taught to US by a kindergartner!), overlap, compare, contrast, and compliment.

It is no surprise that Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston, who has his Master’s Degree in Architecture, found inspiration for this lesson in an architectural detail familiar to many New Yorkers! Quentin explains: “Medallions can be defined as a circular artistic ornamentation often beautifully designed and featuring symbolic imagery.” After a lively discussion about medallions, Quentin introduced students to the work of contemporary artist Portia Munson.

Portia Munson, Cosmos Sun

Students quickly recognized that Munson’s medallion-like Mandala pieces are built up with repeated images of flowers.

Back at their tables, students were challenged to draw, decorate and then cut at least three colorful flowers. While most of these youngsters are well-versed in drawing in pencil and markers, for many, careful cutting was a new challenge.

We are thrilled to report that every student successfully completed all aspects of their artmaking session!

While this is just the first part of this lesson, students engaged in an exciting critique at the end of class where we began to build a group medallion by carefully placing flowers in concentric circles on the rug. We ended class with a heartfelt compliment for the session. “I LOVE ART YARD!” enthused one little artist, her arms flung wide with glee.


While you are exploring our website, you will notice that there are two other tabs under our Weekly Recaps: Exhibitions and Opportunities.

Exhibitions will give you details including running dates and addresses for current exhibitions of work by staff, teaching artists and friends. It may also include relevant theme-related exhibitions as well as shows we really think you will love!

I regularly receive emails and mailings about opportunities in the field – everything from contests for kids’ art to curated thematic exhibitions looking for artists. In my opinion, it is such a privilege to get an inside glimpse into an artist’s process. Fortunately, I often hear about lectures and studio tours; these will also be listed under Opportunities.

Best wishes for an inspiring art-filled week ahead.

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