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A Wondrous Thing – Weekly Recap 12/14/18

The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.”

~ Patti Smith, M Train


This has been a wondrous week for ART YARD BKLYN programs running in our two partnership schools: PS 770 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and MS 226 in South Ozone Park Queens.

Working with 6th graders at MS 226, our partnership school in South Ozone Park, Teaching Artist Glendalys Medina presented an unusual topic: the metamorphosis of a pencil. While this curious topic might raise lots of eyebrows, Glendalys' well-planned and organized lesson gave students the opportunity to analyze the 'anatomy' of an everyday object (especially for students) and transform it into art ... and not just as a utensil to make art.

Students learned about contour line drawings and were asked to draw the outline of an object from sight without lifting the pencil from the paper.



Glendalys demonstrated with Dennis as her model. Once done, students broke down the pieces of a pencil (well, not actually - they DREW different parts of the pencil) and used them to create detail in their contour drawings. Glendalys offered them free range, of sorts, but did have 2 rules: their drawing must include at least 30 pencils AND their drawing must reach all 4 corners of their paper. The results are fascinating.

Upon completion, students will add color (only the colors of a pencil: yellow, pink, silver and brown) and possibly texture and depth to their works.



Vocabulary words learned and discussed during classes: transformation, transition, contour, anatomy and overlap.



Meanwhile selected MS 226 sixth grade artists gathered in our ART YARD at MS 226 Gallery to work with Teaching Artist Claudia Alvarez on a lesson entitled Life Changing: Concepts of Transformative Thinking.


Claudia asked participants to think about life changing experiences as well as examples of cycles of change in nature. We then viewed and discussed Rene Magritte’s 1936 painting La-clairvoyance.


Claudia explains: “Magritte’s work set-the-stage for students to delve into ideas about imagination, and the potential for creative problem solving.”


With her brush delicately balanced in a light grip, Claudia demonstrated how to work with black ink on Bristol paper. We encouraged students to keep a graceful motion as they build up their drawing and to experiment with grey tones as they developed works addressing personal transformation.







Assistant Principal Michele Cohen, who serves as our partnership liaison, shared with Claudia that participants sought her out after our classes to share how grateful they are to be part of the ART YARD programs.

Actual transformations occurred at PS 770 in Crown Heights in conjunction with our current theme. "Friends" in the school's pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade classes transformed their collages into mixed media works with brightly colored solid shapes and lots of squiggly swirls.

Teaching artist Fatima Traore showed images of collage artist Romare Bearden's works in several of his various styles. Students pointed out colors and shapes and took turns at identifying the figures in the images. Clever students, at that - they realized that the images Fatima showed them weren't actually collages but photographs of collages. Quite a difference - but skilled young artists were quick to pick up on it.




Using markers to complete their pieces, students either filled in any empty white spaces on their collages or drew more shapes or designs to fill the page.




During critique, students remarked on the fun process of gluing, and using markers, and complimented each other very humbly. Pre-K Naomi said during compliments: "Seeing all of the art makes me so so so so so so happy" to which Pre-K Tyler responded: "That's a lot of so's". Yes - many so's but very justified. Art makes them all very happy.



This week’s PS 770 lesson with Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston, assisted by Intern Kyra Novick was brought to you by the letter M -- Marvelous Mini Mosaic Medallions!

These early-learners are now well versed in several erudite art terms. We added to the list: composition, concentric, central and mosaic. Friends enthusiastically discussed and demonstrated each term then repaired to their tables to being working.

A sticker was used as a central image around which artists built up a mosaic pattern with small pieces of patterned, mirrored, speckled and colored paper. We worked on proper gluing techniques and in many instances students made two sided art pieces.






Our critiques were focused and proved that classes had not only mastered the art making skills but that they were able to use their new words with aplomb.

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Very best wishes for a week filled with wonder,



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