Updated: Apr 30
Tomorrow, April 30th from 1-6pm, is the opening reception for the ART YARD BKLYN exhibition included in the spring show at BWAC (481 Van Brunt St. Red Hook, Brooklyn). Our work is located on the second floor, in the café area of the galleries, where we hold Advanced Studio sessions each week.
Here is a preview of our installation:
We hope you will join us for the celebration!
At ART YARD BKLYN we take pride in supporting our artists who are interested in becoming teaching artists. We provide support, mentorship and help with lesson planning. We were all very excited that ART YARD Artist Alison Guinet asked to try her hand presenting a lesson! Alison who is from Lyon, France, is in NYC for semester, and we are fortunate to have her in our midst. As with all of the projects I have watched her accomplish, Alison put in 100% effort, 100% enthusiasm and was 100% successful!
Because a few ART YARD Advanced Studio participants had covid/covid exposure, this session took place on Zoom. Inspired by the work of Jean-Michele Basquiat, Our Place In The World, asked artists to think about an event or experience which was both personally important and moving, but also one that linked back to a larger societal issue.
Alison summarizes: “This was really a fulfilling experience. At first, I was afraid people would not understand what I expected of them but in the end, I was extremely amazed by the artwork produced. Everyone found a personal story that was connected to a bigger issue in the world and was able to draw from this while inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat and neo-expressionism.
Ed and Meridith reached for personal childhood memory successfully.
Karla’s piece explored recent interactions and art making with her five year old granddaughter.
Amelia thought deeply about how money impacts access and is often a form of limiting people.
Nayarit addressed gender inequality and sexism.
Marilyn reflected upon her deep emotions regarding the war in the Ukraine.
Vera really included themselves in the painting by using their feet.
Candy depicted an epiphany she had while feeling overwhelmed.
Pat thought back to the empty pandemic streets in Boston.
I (Alison) grappled with racism present in my family members and internal battles which we have fought because of that.
Madison explained her work: “My piece is about grieving, and where my head was at a few months after my grandmother passed away. When I realized, after her death, that it was her birthday I broke down and cried thinking of how there were so many things she wouldn’t get to see with me.”
Alison continues: “I could not have hope for a better result for my first lesson and I was pleased that all of us find something to share with each other. My goal was for everyone to understand Basquiat’s work, neo-expressionism and to produce a work that connect with the world. When all of us agreed that we felt closer to one another after the session, my mission was accomplished.”
The day before our regularly Zoomed ART YARD Advanced Studio had the pleasure of working with ART YARD Teaching Artist Richard Estrin on a calming and delightful session entitled Oh, To Be Aloft.
Richard recaps: “Norman Cousins wrote—I paraphrase--that laughter is the best medicine. In this year of Healing and Recovery, any lesson that promotes laughing is a success. The Advanced Studio group is astonishingly good at it.
The lesson was to promote healing and recovery through the creation of a mobile or other kinetic sculpture. We looked at Calder, Alex Da Corte, Beatriz Milhazes and Jacob Hashimoto for inspiration (in that order below). The creativity and thought on the part of those who participated was astonishing.
Although I presented the lesson as content free—all (sauf moi) took it and embedded their own content in their work.
Meridith with the Dandelion lifecycle, a drifting meditation the notion of hope and wishes.
Meridith McNeal, “Oh, To Be Aloft”
Marilyn with her dancing parrot and objects of personal significance.
Marilyn August, “Oh, To Be Aloft”
Ed with hot air beach balls transported us above and out of this (implied) world.
Delphine, with her medusa hands emerging genie-like from a cardboard base complete with dangling (severed?) fingers—dark irony—made each one incredibly personal.
Delphine Levenson, “Oh, To Be Aloft” in process and complete.
That participants caught the angle of the lesson is a testimonial to them. They elevated a flat presentation to something profound.”
After Spring Break week, ART YARD Art Matters at BNS jumped into a new lesson with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau on Stained Glass-Inspired Collages.
Evelyn explains: “Looking at art historical examples, we discussed a brief history of stained glass--including its origins in ancient Egypt and Rome, mosques and palaces by Arab architects starting in the 8th century, churches in medieval and Renaissance Europe, the Art Nouveau period and continued use by contemporary artists. We talked about what "stained glass" means: glass may be colored chemically with different additives, or painted on with translucent glazes. The beautiful effect of light shining through colorful glass transforms a space, as we noted especially in the image of Nasīr al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran.
Throughout this long history, these windows have been used for their beauty and to celebrate scenes or figures important to the people who commissioned and made the windows.
We will be making collages inspired by stained glass windows, treating colored paper like glass-- that is, we will compose images from small shapes of colored paper, with black borders between shapes to mimic the lead or other material that would hold the pieces of colored glass together in a stained glass window. I showed the students a model piece to illustrate how this might look:
Evelyn's process examples: Persephone emerging from the underworld holding a pomegranate and crocus
We will tackle this project in four stages, mimicking the process a professional artist might use when designing and executing an image: brainstorming, sketching, composition and collage.
We began by brainstorming. Students were invited to verbally brainstorm characters or environments/landscapes from stories that matter to them-- a book, movie, TV show, video game, myth or legend, memory, or their imagination. The focus was on something worth celebrating or telling others about through a striking work of art. Students seemed excited to delve into their imaginations. Some favored abstraction, like the Joaquín Torres-García piece we looked at, while others thought of favorite characters, family members, or even favorite foods.
After coming up with some ideas, students sketched different compositions. We thought about shapes the overall "window" might take: rectangle, pointed arch, round "rose window," or other shapes. We also talked about how complicated drawings might translate to the simplified forms that could plausibly be made from pieces of glass. I demonstrated how complicated shapes might be broken down into simpler ones
It was challenging to simplify shapes in some scenes, like Charlie's busy family scene or Lucas's nebula and meteors, and students persevered industriously. Some began adding color to their sketches, planning what colors they'll use when we begin the collage stage. We examined these works in progress during critique, and students noticed similarities and differences between the level of detail, amount of color, subject matter (sketches that included things that exist on Earth vs. fantastical compositions, etc.) in different sketches.”
ART YARD Managing Director Dennis Buonagura reports in on ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6.
"Bauhaus In The House - at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6.
Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau took 2nd graders on a journey back to the years 1919 (the year PS 6 was built!) to 1933 to the German art school known as Bauhaus (German for 'building house'). Students learned about the principles of Bauhaus, which became famous for its approach to design through the combination of crafts and the fine arts.
In this introductory lesson, students were asked to make an abstract paper sculpture using one single sheet of paper and not have any pieces cut out or removed from it. Evelyn's sample sculpture showed a free form piece with spirals, interlocking pieces, and folds. While students were very tempted to create 'something' (like dragons, or diamonds, or swings), Evelyn encouraged them to just go with the flow - and cut and fold and see where it takes them. It was hard for some to resist making paper planes - so Evelyn and Dennis caved in and let them, but brought them quickly back to their projects.
Students soon got the hang of making notches, cutting slits, and tab like connectors - many pieces seemed quite architectural with what appeared to be windows and balconies, even some tent-like in design.
Evelyn discussed the characteristics and qualities of different types of paper in preparation for the changes in materials for their next lesson.
One student, in the last class of the day, raised her hand and said "I'm not at that level of art making to do this". WWHHAATTT??? (this said in Dennis' distinct Brooklynese). Once Evelyn gave her some instructions and she gained confidence, she was practically the superstar of the day!”
Evelyn adds: "While we were working, one student tried something out that didn't go the way she expected, and I was glad to hear her say, 'you can make new things out of old things!' Students did a great job giving full-sentence compliments without needing to be prompted."
Talk about elevated art concepts! Second graders?!? I am so impressed. Aren't you?!
ART YARD Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji was back as Guest Visiting Artist in my Making & Seeing Art in NY class at Wagner College. Sarah, who is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy at SVA, started us off with a yarn-throwing warm up which had the class checking in with their current state of mind and kept us on a path of introspection and thoughtfulness indicative of her therapeutic pursuits.
After viewing and discussing Faith Ringgold’s Woman on a Bridge #1 of 5: Tar Beach we went even deeper into our introspection as Sarah asked us to recollect and write about an important positive event in our past - one shared with others and likely with celebratory food. We dug in recollecting everything from the setting to the time of day, scent in the air and lighting.
Students worked in steps first constructing a Ringgold-inspired composition to frame the scene with areas to incorporate text and patterning. We used my favorite permanent pens to draw and write out text. Some artists developed a font to deeper illustrate their story.
Then we worked in watercolor, and added a layer or glued yarn to diversify the mixed media aspect of the piece.
Memorable Event Paintings by (left to right, top to bottom): Maurane Dubois, Lance DeSorbo, Dayna Sherwin (in progress), Kerriann Connelly, Julianna Bevilacqua, Isabella Anton, Dylan Hack, Alison Guinet.
Sarah asked the class to share their stories during critique which ranged from family gatherings to early lockdown dinner, and childhood memories to deeply a symbolic birthday party. A wonderfully successful session. I am proud of the work being done by this dedicated group of students (most of whom are not art majors.) I am also glad that Sarah well prepared my Makers & Seers for our field trip next week to view Faith Ringgold: American People at the New Museum!