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Bee Fine

In a sweet start to the week ART YARD Artist Jane Huntington present Inspired by Bees: An appreciation of bees as muse and metaphor in contemporary art.

Aganetha Dyck, The Masked Ball

Jane summarizes the session: “We began the class showing artworks by Wolfgang Buttress, Agnetha Dyck, Matthew Willey, Terence Koh, Rebecca Horn, and Wolfgang Laib, followed by an hour of working time and compliments/comparisons.

Jane presenting on zoom

All the works were focused on the positive aspects of bees, including pollination, conservation, honey production, flight, and the honeycomb. None of the works covered some of the stereotypical frightening aspects of bees such as swarms, stings, etc..

Abby, Ed, Karla and Chloe all worked in some forms of collage. Abby used a class she taught to kids as her launching off point. She painted a honeycomb on her computer, and then put images from the class where she had kids construct honeycombs out of egg crates.

Abrielle Johnson, Inspired by Bees

Ed created a bee on a landscape–using the interior of a safety envelope as the sky, and a flower pattern as the ground. (I don’t remember how he constructed the bee). As always, his work was humorous and slyly sophisticated in its simplicity.

Ed Rath, Inspired by Bees, A Bee Making a Beeline

Karla created a lovely composition of bees and flowers using a beige textured paper as her background and enhanced illustrations of bees from her large reserve of collage imagery.

Karla Prickett, Inspired by Bees

Chloe created a dense composition on the theme of “hive”, using photos from a collage brochure interwoven with images of plaid patterns.

Chloe Kaas, Inspired by Bees

Kevin, our resident zoo worker and enthusiast, began a drawing based on a memory of picking a bee up off the ground.

Kevin Anderson, Inspired by Bees

Avan used text of bee analogies, along with drawings of bees, to express anger and environmental concern for the fate of the honeybee.

Avan Jogia, Inspired by Bees

Ajani did a watercolor study of a honeybee in flight.

Ajani Russell, Inspired by Bees

Meridith did a painting in the theme of “magical things” of her favorite honey jar against a yellow floral dishcloth with bees and a spoon.

Meridith McNeal, Inspired by Bees, Brooklyn Queen

Sigrid based her watercolor on a studio visit she had at J. Morgan Puett’s studio when she was younger. She remembered the smell of beeswax during the visit, and took a bees wax box with her. In this box she stores small favorite things.

Sigrid Dolan, Inspired by Bees

And finally, I (Jane) made a study of bees and honeycombs referencing old, etymological illustrations using mostly black watercolor with some hints of yellow.

Jane Huntington, Inspired by Bees

Karla adds: “Planet Earth relies on bees! Shared memories of bee encounters and great inspirations from Jane’s presentation produced such diverse pieces! Meridith’s honey jar, tea towel and spoon drew several compliments!! We are all in suspense wondering what Ed’s story is! Thanks Jane for a great lesson!”

Speaking of bees... check out Rachel Rath's recent foray into crochet!

Lil' Mama poses with crochet bee (in progress) by Rachel Rath


This week at PS 17, our new partnership school in Jersey City, Dennis met with the in-house production team for the school's upcoming performances of The Lion King. Lots of ideas were thrown around the table and all were enthusiastic and greatly anticipating the big day - 'opening night'. Some ideas involved using the school's projection technology as a backdrop or stop-motion animation (mostly for the rampage scene), classic theatrical styles of creating masks, make-up, and costumes, canvas backdrops vs. 3D sets - and the like.

The stage at PS 17, Jersey City. Photo Dennis Buonagura

The school's administrative team gave Dennis a tour of the auditorium, where the performance will be held (it's massive!! and spotless!!) as well as a great amount of insight into Disney's licensing requirements.

The auditorium at PS 17, Jersey City. Photo Dennis Buonagura

ART YARD BKLYN will be at PS 17 on Wednesdays starting in the next week or two (regretfully, for us, next Wednesday is a 1/2 day at the school so we can't begin that day) until all masks, sets, programs, etc. are designed and executed. Looks like we'll have our 'lion's share' of work ahead of us - but we look forward to working with this terrific team.


Dennis reports: Another week of progress at The East New York High School of Arts and Civics. "Teaching Artist Fatima Traore guided students thru the start of - and the completion of - two projects. As a result of pre-Regent exams preparation and testing, students arrived to class in various intervals. Some were adding touches to their Black history month portraits while others 'surfed' ahead into adding paint to the Great Wave pieces.

Fatima works one on one with a student

Kurt worked on the background of his Kehinde Wiley piece - carefully planning and testing colors until he found his perfect choice. He also began adding a Kehinde Wiley-like design in homage to the artist.

Kurt, Kehinde Wiley (in progress)

Andre's drawing (for his Great Wave piece) is taking great shape too - a Polaroid camera (his tribute to Warhol?) or is it sort of the Instagram logo? Either way, we all KNOW what the photo is going to be of, don't we? Fatima and Dennis are anxious to see what 'develops' next week.

Andre, Soon to be Great Wave (in progress)

Fatima offered constructive suggestions to students - all which were gratefully accepted. Students worked diligently, remained focused, and offered to assist others. Excellent teamwork.

At work at Arts and Civics

Great Wave (in progress)

Great Wave in watercolor

Great Wave Bath (in progress)


Dennis writes: "Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau’s terrific lesson on imaginary machines needed to help green-up our planet prompted lots of creative ideas at PS6, our partnership school in Jersey City.

Evelyn presents for the class at PS 6

Students viewed works by Rube Goldberg, Max Ernst, Kay Sage, and Hayao Miyazaki for inspiration via Evelyn’s excellent pdf presentation.

Ideas involved the cleaning up of oceans, lakes, and rivers, as well as ways to keep air clean, remove smoke and smog, reduce and clear out litter, and spread love and happiness to make our world a better place for all. In the drafting stages, students turned their thoughts for mechanisms into drawings on strong quality paper (as we will use acrylic paints next week).

Juan Anu’s drawing included the invention date of his machine - which was 1954 - and NO, I promise that I did not lead him to chose that year (which happened to be a very good year!). Philip, quite inspired by learning about worm composts, developed a building in which residents’ trash is turned into a type of poop that is used as a fertilizer to grow food.

PS 6 Student proudly displays drawing from class

We had excellent assistance and support from Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji … AND Marilyn August, visiting NYC from California."

Evelyn writes: "What a wonderful day at PS 6! It was a rare treat to have both Sarah and Marilyn alongside me and Dennis in our classroom for the first day of a lesson on Green-Up Machines.

Students dove right in, sketching trash-grabbing claws and vacuums, machines that transform sadness into love, air purifiers and ocean clean-up devices, drones, factories, and machines replete with tubes, ramps, and propellers -- doing their work across mountains and cities, in sky and in water. It was wonderful to see students so excited about their fantastical drawings, rising to the task with playfulness and vigor."

Amityush Raman, Portrait of Dennis Bounagura


You are invited to join Advanced Studio in person tomorrow, Saturday, March 18, from 2-4pm for Gallery Hopping in DUMBO, Brooklyn!

Our itinerary:

  1. A.I.R. Gallery (155 Plymouth St): Susan Bee, Amy Ritter, and Anoushé Shojae-Chaghorvand

  2. Center for Cuban Art (20 Jay St): “En la lucha: Celebrating Cuban Women and Their Art”

  3. PLATFORM PROJECT SPACE (20 Jay St.): “Some of my brothers are sisters, some of my sisters are mothers, and all of my mothers are fathers, too”

Please RSVP if you would like to join us!

Susan Bee, Apocalypse IV, 2022, oil and enamel on canvas, 24 x 30 inches (on view at A.I.R. Gallery)


Other Art News

Fatima and I loved the Keen Company’s first New York revival of Crumbs from the Table of Joy by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Colette Robert!

As described by the theaters promotional materials: “Set against the social politics of the 1950s, this charming, funny, and moving play follows 17-year-old Ernestine Crump as she adjusts to life after the passing of her beloved mother. In search of spiritual answers, Ernestine’s father relocates the family from Pensacola to Brooklyn where the Crumps must navigate a changing family dynamic, an unwelcoming neighborhood, and a shifting set of American ideals. Crumbs from the Table of Joy questions the limits of escapism and the power of everyday hope.”

Crumbs from the Table of Joy in Performance Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Fatima Traore reviews the show: “This past windy Wednesday, Meridith and I made our way to Theater Row to see Crumbs from the Table of Joy. It wasn’t long after that we were transcended to a period of time where racial and political issues were heightened in similar yet different ways than they are now. While the production had a serious subject matter, the writer Lynn Nottage was sure to include humorous and whimsical moments. I especially enjoyed the moments that were separated from reality and allowed us to tap into one of the character’s imagination on what they “wished” had happened. The set, costumes, sounds/music, and lighting truly were conducive to the development of the play. Our eyes were glued to the stage from beginning to end and while watching, I could feel the engagement and emotions of the entire audience who were also intrigued and captivated by the storyline. They collaboratively took us through time in just two hours filled with intense dialogue while unfolding the variety of relationships between each character. By the end, the cast received a standing ovation for their superb work and I’m sure were also given many unheard but glowing verbal reviews just as Meridith and I did on the way back out into the busy city.”

Crumbs from the Table of Joy in Performance Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Crumbs from the Table of Joy in Performance Photo by Julieta Cervantes





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