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and the pursuit of Happiness

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

"...with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


At ART YARD we encourage our students interested in developing their teaching skills by providing one-on-one support, mentoring, personalized training and the opportunity to teach within our programs. It is most certainly a pursuit of happiness and we are so proud of the talented teaching artists who have come up under our guidance.

Teaching Artist Kevin Anderson's ART YARD Advanced Studio lesson, Drawing Nature, was inspired by his walks in Prospect Park after his long period of quarantining. Finding further inspiration in the works of Georgia O'Keeffe and Beverly Ress, Kevin asked students to select objects from nature which would fit into the palm of their hands. Most students selected leaves, twigs and flowers, but one found a half of a walnut. Kevin started by asking students to do quick 1 minute drawings, then 2 minute drawings, and then discussed the focus on form and composition for their 15 minute drawings.

Georgia O'Keffee, Pattern of Leaves,1923
Beverly Ress, Once and Later, 2010, colored pencil/paper, hand cut, 30x22.25"

Kevin’s slide show of the works of O’Keeffe and Ress helped students to understand the details of nature they needed to focus on.

As this was Kevin’s teaching debut, it was wonderful to hear unanimous praise for him during the critique – every single participant complimented Kevin and his lesson.

Nayarit Tineo, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio June 29, 2020
Sarah Gumgumji,Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio June 29, 2020
Marie Roberts, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio June 29, 2020
Jane Huntinton, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio June 29, 2020
Wayne Gross, Nature, Advanced Studio, June 29, 2020
Ed Rath, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio, July 29, 2020

Marilyn August, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio July 29, 2020
August Levenson, Drawing Nature, Advanced Studio, June 29, 2020

Kevin’s thoughtful synopsis of his lesson and experience:

“When planning this lesson, I wanted to provide a means of relieving stress from Covid-19 and the myriad of obstacles that the year has introduced.

All of the students showed various styles and capabilities with the materials and subjects they chose. Each student genuinely captured the different shapes of nature in their leaves, flowers, and even half of a walnut. I was really impressed with the uniqueness of each piece, and also felt welcomed by the flexibility of everyone.

It brings great joy how each student was able to connect their objects to a part of their world, as if they were recently outside. Thanks for this opportunity, and I would love to do it again in the near future!”


This week’s ART YARD CREATE is being led by Sarah Gumgumji who, like Kevin, has been and is a participant, intern and teaching artist. The topic is Pets and Animals has garnered a lively and fun dialogue!

After her introduction to the thread Sarah posted a photo of herself feeding elephants in Africa:

Dennis added this sweet portrait of his beloved pugs Hazel and Olive painted by Arlene Horton.

Marie shared some beautiful drawings she did from observation at The Bronx Zoo:

An interesting tangent about Angora Goats and wool (we do have some dedicated knitters in our midst!):

Jenn shared this beautiful portrait she painted of my handsome cat Rik.

TJ’s self-portrait with giraffes at the San Diego Zoo spurred on some fascinating concepts. Did you know giraffes have PURPLE tongues?!?

Quentin with his great pal Anna Lavina (aka Lola):

And Cecile’s cat Homie has taken to watching cat videos during quarantine!!

I think you better head over to CREATE and join in the conversation!


We are stoked for ART YARD Summer Session 2020 which starts on Monday July 6 and runs through July 23rd on Zoom!

The program which is open to kids, teens, young adults, and practicing artists who working with Teaching Artist Claudia Alvarez, Dennis and me will delve into a variety of artmaking skills, explore works by master artists and investigate a variety of intellectual ideas as we kick off the ART YARD Year of COMMUNITY.

One of the artists who we will study for inspiration on the topic of socially engaged community practice is Suzanne Lacy.

Across and In-Between is a creative collaboration between Suzanne Lacy and Cian Smyth with Helen Sharp, Garrett Carr, Eva Grosman, Helen Sharp, Helen Sloan, Pedro Rebelo, Mark Thomas and Soap, Inc.

If you would like to participate please contact us at


Wishing you abundant happiness,

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