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Updated: Dec 2, 2023

This week ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom worked with ART YARD Artist Jane Huntington on a superb session titled: Signs of Protest: Sketching Out Ideas.

Jane describes the session: “We began the lesson by looking at several graphic illustrations of posters made by activists, including the Gorilla Girls, Barbara Kruger's "Your Body is a Battlefield," and Act Up's "Silence = Death."

Gran Fury, Silence=Death, 1987

After the introduction, we went into breakout rooms where we discussed the issues that were top of mind – not so much ideas, but more about expanding upon issues we felt passionate about.

Jane presenting on zoom

After the breakout rooms, we met in the main room to begin "Crazy Eights," a design exercise used in studios to kickstart the design process. The process starts by folding a piece of paper into eight panels and then doing eight one-minute timed sketches. After we completed the sketches, we spent about 55 minutes working on our finished pieces.

Ajani and Ed discussed the Occupy Wall St protests in Zuccotti Park and used the metaphor of a fish bowl to illustrate the power inequities of the 1 percent over the rest of the 99 percent. Ed used cut-out paper inspired by the posters, using red and black to great effect.

Ed Rath, Signs of Protest, Das Kapital

Ajani made great use of their time in the ceramics studio, interpreting their version in clay.

Ajani Russell, Signs of Protest

Mine and Karla's pieces dealt with the suppression of free thought and ideas. Her wry composition employed a canceled Abraham Lincoln postage stamp and images of old shorthand and ledger items.

Karla Prickett, Signs of Protest

I (Jane) revisited my "Free People Read Freely" composition and juxtaposed it with a handwritten list of banned books and red stripes referencing the American flag.

Jane Huntington, Signs of Protest

Meridith used a recent picture she took of the Statue of Liberty from a raindrop-splattered window of the Staten Island Ferry. The statue in the photo faded into obscurity by the fog and rain. The piece, which the group thought would make an excellent public poster, is in protest of wrongful incarceration.

Meridith McNeal, Signs of Protest

It was a great class, and we had a robust discussion of issues important to us.“

Karla adds: “Thank you Jane for the lesson! Breakout discussion was very good and the panel of eight quick sketches really helped develop a composition for the lesson. I thought the individual works were strong and successfully made statements against the inequities experienced toward humankind.”


On Tuesday with ART YARD Artist Dakota Jones we painted from observation as we continued our still life cycle in ART YARD Advanced Studio in person in our studio at BWAC.

Dakota introducing the lesson

Dakota summarizes: “This session was an extension of last week’s class on still life, however, this week we dove a bit deeper into the possibilities that the medium has to offer. We began by looking at a rough list of examples that illustrate both a timeline of still life work as well as the evolution of styles that are used within that genre. One notable piece was Dali’s Nature Morte Vivante or Living Still Life. The idea of a living still life is for students to imagine beyond what is observed, to create a narrative further than reality based on what is already illustrated.

Salvador Dali, Nature Morte Vivante, 1956

Participants had the option to paint purely from observation or to reconfigure that observation. We then painted with Acrylic on canvas.

In the spirit of the lesson, students had to be inventive with their choice of material as we had a mishap with our brushes which weren’t found until after the lesson, as such, students used a variety of utensils including Palette knives, sponge brushes, fingers and straws, to illustrate a variety of styles and perspectives of one still life. Everyone made strong pieces, some will continue on and others will start new pieces next week.”

Sigrid Dolan, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes

Dakota Jones, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes

Meridith McNeal, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes

Delphine Levenson, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes

Ed Rath, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes

Ajani Russell, Painted Still Life from observation with no brushes


Big thanks to Jane who explains: “After Monday's class, Meridith and I engaged in a last-minute fix of AYB’s "Giving Tuesday" page. I'm happy to say after two-plus years of training, I was able to identify the problematic html code on's donation site and fix it in due order.

Thank you to all who help raise funds for ART YARD BKLYN by promoting us for GivingTuesday on their own social media platforms. Our donation page will stay up through December 31. Please continue to promote supporting our programs, perhaps as an end of year gift!


Dennis writes: “Greetings from Vienna, where holiday mode is in full swing. Advent wreaths, Christmas markets, classical music concerts and specialty desserts abound.

I was thrilled to read that ART YARD BKLYN had a successful first Giving Tuesday - thanks to all who participated.

Aside from eating way too much during my visit to Vienna, I’ve spent much of my time at concerts at Annakirche (St. Ann’s Church) and Domkirche St. Stephen (St. Stephen’s Church) and at the Belvedere Museum. A special treat today was seeing a performance of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Narchmusik at Marionettenrheater Schloss Schonbrunn - which was fantastic. Photos were not permitted during the performance but I chatted with one of the puppeteers backstage (pictured below) and got to meet one of the “performers”.

Regretfully, the Art O Mat (think back to Karla Prickett’s lesson over the summer) in Vienna was not working properly and I could not see it, as I had made arrangements to do.

In Central Cemetery (one of the largest in the world) - where many of the most famous composers (Beethoven, Schubert, Brahams, and Strauss) are buried - I came across this beautiful tombstone with the image of a man holding paintbrushes. The name on the tombstone is Theodor Hoermann - anyone know about this artist??

Vienna is gorgeous!!”


The latest items in the ART YARD Redbubble shop are adorned with images by ART YARD Artists Marilyn August and Akash Wilmot. All proceeds beyond production cost supports our programs.

Akash Wilmot (left), Marilyn August (right)


Other Art News:

Ajani, Quentin and I went to Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick (in its temporary location on Madison Avenue at the old Whitney Museum building). We loved the show!! The masterly painted portraits on view are filled with energy, while also being simultaneously oh-so-subtle and fitted with painstakingly rendered details, such as the lens on prescription glasses and the surface texture of denim. It felt as if we were surrounded by people we know. Quentin pointed out the hands in Misc. Tyrone (Tyrone Smith), 1976 (The portrait below with pink background) were so particularly rendered that they reminded him of his grandfathers hands.

Barkley L. Hendricks, Lagos Ladies (Gbemi, Bisi, Niki, Christy), 1978, Misc. Tyrone (Tyrone Smith), 1976, and Steve, 1976


Support artists, including ART YARD Artists Golnar Adili and Iviva Olenick, small businesses and a non-profit by doing your holiday shopping at the Center for Book Arts Winter Market. Join us from 5-8pm this Friday, December 1st at 28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor.

Work by Iviva Olenick (left), Golnar Adili (right)


More art shopping – ART YARD Artist Maraya Lopez invites us to her studio (70 John St. (basement studio), Brooklyn) Saturday 12-5pm for a special Shop the Studios Dumbo! Maraya adds: “Over 50 Dumbonian artists will open their studios in the area so that you have first dibs at unique holiday art/gifts! There's also the Brooklyn Flea in the neighborhood, Janes Carousel and lots of fun eateries and pubs. Make a day of it and come for a visit!”

Maraya Lopez art in studio


ART YARD Artist Candy Heiland invites us to join her for the opening of Solstice at Incubator Studio, 56 Bogart Street, Bushwick on Sunday 12/3 from 1-6pm.


I (Meridith) am thrilled to have work included in AMPLIFIED: Art Music Power opening January 6, 2024 at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia!



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