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Be There or Be Square

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Please join us Sunday, October 3rd 4-6pm for our final artist’s reception for The Way We See It, FiveMyles, 558 St. John’s Place, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. ART YARD Teaching Artist Reg Lewis will perform Shhh… and wonderful refreshments will be provided by Camillo.

The Way We See It installed at FiveMyles

People are raving about Reg’s performance:

Reg Lewis performing at FiveMyles. Photo by Marie Roberts.

“Reg's writing was spot on, funny, true, insightful. But what amazed me was his command of space as he delivered his poetry, it was performance.” Marie Roberts

“Reg totally nailed every teacher's "Inner Neurotic" seeking answers to life's unanswerable questions. Expressed in rapid, free flow verse, Reg cannot comprehend why his students torment him in the same, smart alecky way he tormented his own teachers when he was their age. Did he not learn anything from his own experiences? Why can he not rise above them? Is it just karma or old age setting in? The self-castigation and extreme physical humor was hilarious, but the anxiety, self-doubt, and pain is real.” Ed Rath

"It was a lovely way to spend a late afternoon - with a poet that connected so well with his audience, sharing of joys and anxieties as a teacher to youth." Nicolette Reim

We are thrilled that FiveMyles has had our exhibition listed in several excellent publications!


ART YARD Art Matters at Brooklyn New School this week found Teaching Artist Fatima Traore working with 4th and 5th graders on a lesson in relief making - which evolved from last week's lesson in collage.

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore with BNS student

Using their collage works, students covered their entire boards with spray glue and foil and worked very hard on the 'smoothing' process - pressing their fingertips into their pieces until each bit of every leaf, gravel, string, and twig was visible through the foil. Sounds simple? Not exactly - it's a LOT of hard work.

Once done, they sprayed them with black matte paint, lightly, until the entire piece was covered. The results are amazing - and the creative process will continue next week.

During critique, Walsh explained how he sometimes feels stressed in an art class - thinking he's not skillful enough (not true, Walsh!!) but he found Fatima's lesson 'relaxing and therapeutic'. Imma described some of the pieces as 'musical' - meaning they looked like musical notes to her. And they do! Such observant students!!

ART YARD Art Matters at BNS critique

Liam took the opportunity of having an extra sheet of foil to create a cap to protect himself from visiting Martians. One never knows.


This week at Advanced Studio in person at FiveMyles, improvisation and flexibility were the name of the game. We arrived at Five Myles to find that a dance rehearsal was happening in the gallery space. Fortunately, we were able to shift gears and meet in the back space. Teaching Artist Rachael Wren had planned to continue and expand on last week’s lesson of making a painting inspired by the work in “The Way We See It”. She modified the parameters for working so that students had a choice to either continue their paintings from last week looking at photos of the paintings in the gallery, choose a smaller piece from one of the portfolios to work from, or create a third piece that grew out of what they had completed last week.

Vera and Nayarit, who were each working from one of Meridith’s large paintings, went back into their pieces from last week using photos. They both took their work to a new level, incorporating more color and a very sensitive, successful use of watercolor.

Nayarit Tineo, After Filaments by Meridith McNeal

Vera Tineo, After Graceful Confusion by Meridith McNEal

Elizabeth chose to start a new piece based on Delphine’s painting in the show. She too worked from a photo and turned the original image into something of her own. She was drawn to the watery feeling of the blues and greens in Delphine’s piece, and pushed those colors further in her painting. She also created more of a three-dimensional space that draws the viewer in.

Delphine Levenson, My Window of Vines and Elizabeth Morales after Delphine Levenson

Ed and Robin both expanded upon their work from last week by making a new paintings. Ed decided to focus on the landscape aspect of his image, adding more trees and changing the direction of the path into and through the space. He maintained the original color scheme and use of swirling brush strokes. Robin created another image of a woman stuck in a window, adding cleaning supplies and a crying baby around her, which brought humor and pathos into the work.

Ed Rath after Kevin Anderson My Window of Mystery I & II, (sorry for the wonky photo!)

Akash Wilmot and Robin Grant after Akash Wilmot My Window of Peace I & II

At critique, students astutely pointed out compositional elements in each others’ work, and discovered unique combinations of painting and drawing in each piece. Everyone also noticed that the use of color in the work has reached a new level of sophistication.


For Monday’s ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Teaching Artist Ed Rath presented twenty images from the Metropolitan Museum’s Unicorn Tapestries and talked about how the medieval artists used symbolism to illustrate two sub-narratives: The life of Christ, and an Allegory of Romantic Love and Fidelity.

After looking at the imagery we got right to work creating pictures that tell stories about our own personal and societal concerns.

Maraya created a many layered picture referencing the suffering and inhumane treatment of prisoners at New York’s infamous Riker’s Island. The unicorn, superimposed over her figures of the prisoners, represents hope for change and a chance for redemption.

Maraya Lopez, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Wayne’s portrait of his two year old cousin Ollie, executed with sensitivity and delicacy, also represents hope for the future.

Wayne Gross, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Pat drew a picture of her cat in a small box, and Meridith drew a magical dragonfly fenced in like the Unicorn was fenced in after his resurrection. Both artist’s referenced the idea of boundaries that the tapestries illustrated symbolically.

Pat Larash, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited (in progress)

Delphine’s picture of a girl walking past a huge barrel of trash while deftly stepping over a single flower refers to our man-made environmental crisis. Delphine explained that we still have a chance to reverse our destructive ways, but it will require effort from the whole world if we are to succeed. Like the hunters in the Unicorn Tapestries who killed the magical unicorn, people today are killing our beautiful planet. We are all responsible to change our ways.

Delphine Levenson, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Madison drew an image of the delicate Lily of the Valley, a flower whose seductive beauty and perfumed scent are actually toxic, like certain people she knows.

Madison Mack, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Robin created a delightful drawing of a personal fairy tale, showing three heart shaped cookies which represent three suitors to a beautiful princess, who sits in the center of a large room. Behind the princess sits a window revealing the beauty of the outside world. Robin said she was thinking about certain Matisse interiors when she laid out the composition.

Robin Grant, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Marilyn painted a tree with a flower, a bird, lemons, tomatoes, and an artist’s palette hanging from its branches. By connecting them to the tree she illustrated how these symbols are connected to her personal world.

Marilyn August, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Jane’s drawing shows a Unicorn standing on 34th Street among all the stores and shops of New York City, creating new twist on The Miracle on 34th Street.

Jane Huntington, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Meridith McNeal, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Expanding on the Garden of Eden motif from the tapestries, Ed created an image of a Unicorn walking in a garden of rose bushes.

Ed Rath, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Karla used drawn stencils, pen and colored pencil to depict the unicorn and the horn and how they intersect and relate to one another within the story. Also comparing how these two different horns were used.

Karla Prickett, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

Nayarit drew a montage of images form the tapestries, creating a dreamlike effect of symbols in an abstract space.

Nayarit Tineo, Unicorn Tapestries Revisited

The variety of work product is testimony to the rich and mysterious properties the Unicorn Tapestries contain. We recommend everyone make a visit to the Cloisters to see these magnificent art works in person.


Other art news:

Valerie Hegarty’s exhibition Gone Viral is on view at Malin Gallery, 515 West 29th St., NYC through November 23, 2021. Featuring work from the past three years, the exhibition centers upon a suite of new sculptures inspired by the artist’s personal journal entries from the onset of the Covid epidemic to the present, which she terms The Covid Diaries series.


Board Member Cecile Chong writes: “I recently saw William Kentridge videos at the Brooklyn Museum in a new exhibition on the first floor. They looped a few of his videos. I felt like I could sit there for hours.”


Teaching Artist Candy Heiland has work included in Trick or Treat at Incubator Studio Gallery, 56 Bogart St. Lower Level, Brooklyn, NY 11206. Open Sundays 1-6 thru Halloween.

Candy Heiland, “The Followers”, pastel on paper


A cornerstone of the Williamsburg Brooklyn gallery scene, Figureworks, 168 N. 6th Street, Brooklyn opened its doors on April 16, 2000. In these 20 years the gallery has presented the work of hundreds of uniquely talented figure-based artists. To celebrate this anniversary, 20 artists who have continually exhibited with the gallery were selected for Figureworks 20/20, an exhibition that will run through October 30, 2021. Including past and present work, these artists exemplify the diverse potential in realizing Figureworks continued mission to represent fine art of the human form.

Meridith McNeal on view at Figureworks


ART YARD BKLYN congratulates Dr. Nicole Fleetwood, curator and writer of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, on her well-deserved recognition in being awarded a MacArthur Genius Award. Dr. Fleetwood was instrumental in ART YARD’s collaboration with PS1, which opened up insider tours of the exhibition and Guest Teaching Artists for ART YARD Advanced Studio. We are grateful for her work and her generosity of spirit.

Dr. Nicole Fleetwood curator and writer of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration gives tour of exhibition.


Mark your calendars and come on by FiveMyles on Sunday for our final artists reception, an amazing performance by Reg Lewis and scrumptious snacks by Camillo!!

P.S. We are counting on you...please join us for Les Amis de ART YARD benefit to support our programs!!!!

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