top of page

Art makes people...

“Art makes people better, more highly skilled in thinking and improves whatever

business they go into, or whatever occupation. It makes a person broader.” 

~ Ruth Asawa, artist and tireless arts education advocate


Did you know that:

  • AYB has not raised the small percentage cost for our school partners ever!

  • AYB Advanced Studio sessions are free and open to the public on a first come first serve basis.

  • AYB Summer Session our top-tier intensive three-week artmaking program is free for artists of all ages.


You can help us keep our top-notch programs accessible by making a donation today!


AYB Managing Director Dennis Buonagura reports: "Today was a very busy finish-up scene at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 with interns Evelyn O, Gaby, and Litzy at the helm. Students drew, painted, and cut dozens more flowers, fences, trees, bees, lady bugs, snails, bushes, hills, clouds, and whatever else you can find in a garden. Time is always short so we four stayed after classes to cut (those where there simply wasn’t enough time during class) and organize all the pieces.

While I left PS6 around 2:30 to check out Gia’s mural progress at PS17, Evelyn O and Gaby stayed behind to categorize all the components of the installation. Also after classes, I met with selected docents who will begin training next week (probably Tuesday). We went down to the gallery so they could get an idea of what their assignment will be. After labels are produced and works are installed, training will make much more sense to them.”



But let’s go back to the start of the week…Sunday afternoon The Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling hosted a closing reception for my (Meridith) solo exhibition Things That Happened just for ART YARD BKLYN. It was so much fun to discuss my work on view with our participating artists and their families! In fact, I was so engaged in the conversation I only took one photo! As you can see from the picture, the museum did a beautiful job catering the event!



AYB Advanced Studio on zoom was off this week for the Memorial Day holiday.


Tuesday evening Advanced Studio met in person at our studio at BWAC in Red Hook for the third session in a cycle lead by AYB Artist Dakota Jones


A peaceful calm settled over the studio as Dakota asked us to prepare for artmaking by meditating. The sun streamed into the space, and in the hush of the room we could hear lapping waves, and the low horns from flotilla sounded as if they were intoning Ohm. Intermittent watery clangs and the squawk of sea birds added to the reverie.


Dakota writes: “For the final part of my lesson on spiritualism and artistic practice we took elements of both the first and second lessons in order cater to both the my peers that were consistent for all three classes as well as the newcomers for part three. We again explored internal visual language through closed eye visuals as well as a focused dive into dream signs through dream meditation.


Georgiana Houghton, The Eye of God, 1862

I (Dakota) think this class was a fitting culmination to the lesson as the work from this week was super varied and storied and I particularly appreciated the energy that was given to critique.”


Liv and I (Meridith) were transported during our meditation to childhood time spent by the water.

Liv Collins, Dream Meditation l, ll, & lll


Meridith McNeal, Dream Meditation

Jules created many versions of night before a performance jitters, replete with broken guitar strings.

Jules Lorenzo, Dream Meditation

Simone’s emotionally charged triptych was of great interest to all, reminding Ed of Edvard Munch’s “Self Portrait in Hell”.

Simone Awor, Dream Meditation l, ll, & lll

Edvard Munch, Self Portrait in Hell, 1903

Sasha explored several new materials including watercolor pencils in her dream series.

Sasha Jackson, Dream Meditation l, ll, & lll

Keenan’s strange jar encased eight-year-old-self was the topic of lively discussion. Kennan shared a riveting back story to her dream image. Ed compared this piece with the ubiquitous, "Skull and Bones" icon of pirate lore.


Keenan Conley, Dream Meditation
Skull and Cross Bones Flag, Made for the film 'Windjammer' circa 1962

Ed depicted a recurring dream: Lost in the woods between St. Paul and Minneapolis.


Dakota’s three etched Sumi ink pieces tell a mysterious tale which seems to operate on several planes.

Dakota Jones, Dream Meditation l, ll, & lll

Grace painted the feeling of weeping in beautiful watercolor.

Grace Webb, Dream Meditation

Taylor’s bold landscape defies logical conclusions.

Taylor Branch, Dream Meditation

Ajani’s mark making calls to mind the planchette drawing we learned about in works by Georgiana Houghton (see image above).


Ajani Russell, Dream Meditation

Leni’s gorgeous paintings with the looming single eye and Abriel’s quartet of amorphic stylized forms reminded us of the work of Lee Bontecou.

Lenika Silva, Dream Meditation l
Lenika Silva, Dream Meditation ll

Abriel Gardner, Dream Meditation l, ll, lll, & lV (use arrows to scroll through images)

Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 1962

Dakota finishes: “I again want to shout out the group for making each other feel comfortable and welcome; multiple people were able to share deep personal anecdotes in regards to their work and in a group of people that for some may have been unfamiliar is really brave and a testament to the group that we have at art yard. Everyone made such amazing work and I’m privileged to have been able to lead this class.”


 AYB Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau recounts: “This week at ART YARD Art Matters at PS 17, we entered the last (but not least) stage of our Andy Warhol themed projects: mounting artwork for display and holding a critique of the work. In each class, every student has finished at least one piece (and some have finished up to six!), and it’s almost time to move on to the next lesson. We decided to dedicate this week to the all-important wrap-up phase of the project, so students can feel proud of their work and ready to display it in the school’s exhibition.

Evelyn demonstrates for the class

Our Grade 7 and 6 classes mounted their pencil and watercolor images of everyday objects onto black paper. For students with multiple completed pieces, we talked about carefully ordering and arranging the series on the black paper so that it can have the most striking effect in the exhibition. While I worked with students individually to arrange and mount their pieces (with help from Mr. Dakran the wonderful substitute teacher who stood in for Mr. P today), Dennis led a robust critique. Students drew comparisons and contrasts between their peers’ artworks and gave thoughtful compliments.

In our Grade 1 class, we’d gotten a head start on the mounting process last time, so these students were pros this week! In this class, each student made one or more colored-paper collages inspired by Warhol’s Flowers series. Each collage was mounted separately on two offset pieces of black paper to make it pop. Always energetic, these students were able to pour their energy this week into the critique process, with lots of compliments traded about these colorful artworks.


The last class of the day, Grade 4, had completed an abundance of paintings inspired by Warhol’s Space Fruit by using stencils and high-saturation watercolors. We mounted these on toned brown paper, in different arrangements based on the number of pieces each student completed. As in the earlier classes, we focused on curating each student’s series to create a rhythm of shapes and colors across the mounting paper. Upon finishing, each student joined the critique discussion group and participated in pointing out similarities and differences between their classmates’ various approaches to the project.


I'm excited to see these works on display in PS 17! Next week, we’ll be jumping into all-new lessons within the realm of Pop Art.”


“Painting on school walls is serious work, requiring even the

youngest child to do their best work.” ~ Ruth Asawa


Also at PS 17, Dennis tells us what is going on in after school programs: “Upon arrival at the school, Gia and I met with the principal, Dr. Brower, who had some requests for slight changes to the original mural design.  We agreed to accommodate and Gia went right to painting.  Earlier in the week, Gia shopped for paint and supplies in Jersey City, drew the outline of the mural and prepared for the afterschool students to learn even more about mural painting .... and participate.

Gia mixed paints and had brushes of various sizes on hand - students were divided into a few groups called Team Seaweed, Team Bubbles, Team Water, and Team Flowers and jumped at the chance to paint.


The sun went in and out - good for painting when the sun was in - bad for photographs when it was out.  Gia's working on the mural on days other than our usual Wednesdays at PS 17 and will send photos of her progress.

Gia with the mural in progress

Students at work on our mural

Just when afterschool session was about to begin, a former afterschool student, Adriana, brought a little note for me and Gia which says “Art Is Best".  Very nice of her - and I love that she signed it "Ur fav student aka Adriana".  


Proving that Dennis is a marvel at organization and planning for AYB school partnerships, Thursday was a busy day. Dennis describes what happened: “Gaby and I needed to prep for Friday at PS 6 and organize the gallery for installation. No less than 20 teachers/admins/students/security guards stopped me to say "I saw you and thought it was Friday!".  


We worked in our art room for a bit but needed to vacate as the room is used for chess classes on Thursdays - so we brought all of our stuff down to the gallery.  Gaby painted 6 large sized watercolor papers (using the wet on wet technique - same as we taught our students) with several blues for the installation of the "endless garden" collage.  There are still more components to be finished by the students but we needed to get a head start before assembling it.

We receive cooperation from the team at PS 6 - everyone pops in to ask if we need anything, do we need water, can students help us, etc.  


Evelyn B is (further!) assisting by creating labels for all projects at PS 6.  This extra day of prep really helped a lot.”



Other Art News


There is one more week to see AYB Teaching Artist Jodie Lyn-Kee Chow’s work in Textures of Feminist Perseverance at the Graduate Center’s James Gallery through June 7.

Textures of Feminist Perseverance at the Graduate Center’s James Gallery

"Textures of Feminist Perseverance asks how women's daily experiences and contributions are recorded in physical, virtual, and social public spheres. Centering the work of 17 female-identifying artists, this project supports artists who are imagining ways for women to take up the space they are already producing. What might a city honoring women's lived experiences look like? How can the city be a living archive of women's accomplishments in a visual vocabulary that may not already be recognized in the dominant discourse? This work is often achieved through a preoccupation with hands-on and labor-intensive making practices that foreground physical and embodied attentiveness to materials, social gathering, and awareness of time." (Excerpt from the exhibition essay.)



195 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page