Updated: Nov 20
This week ART YARD Advanced Studio Teaching Artist Reg Lewis led us in a fantastic session titled "We Wear the Mask: Don’t Let the Mask Wear Us (Message to Every Community)". Reg reminded us that the artist community has always served the world by breaking through defenses to address urgent matters and appealing to the spirit of the people.
Reg recounts the session: “When thinking about a project that would reflect the theme of community, my attention turned towards the idea of addressing the pandemic. I immediately thought of the protective mask that has become ubiquitous, for they represent the first line of defense/measure of precaution against this relentless virus. That led me to Paul Laurence Dunbars poem, “We Wear the Mask” which acted as the first creative inspiration for Advanced Studio participants. The poem speaks of the necessity of the mask for survival which directly applies to current conditions.
The bold artwork of Emory Douglas (former minister of culture for the Black Panthers) served as the second inspiration for the project which challenged participants to incorporate an activist driven message to urge the (global) community to persevere in their fight against Covid-19.
The ART YARD artists responded with a wide range of interpretations that left many speechless. Masks appeared in many manifestations from Marilyn’s drama and comedy interpretation to Meridith’s and Zeke’s close up self-portraits, to Sarah’s amazing interpretation of a mask covering a bleeding heart, to Jacob’s critical statement about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ corporate greed, to Eden’s color rich message of solidarity.
Vera produced a striking Emory Douglas inspired piece that incorporated bold colors while Amelia created a scene which included the moon suspended over the city. Akash, August and Wayne created portraits related to the theme while Ed Rath created a head in jar portrait to represent the mask one wears upon exits and entrances in one’s own home.
We are grateful to Reg for a fantastic session on a timely and important topic!
Dennis reports: “Saw this ad in the Sunday Times Magazine and it made me miss our ‘live’ classes at ART YARD Partnership School PS 6, where students learned about the works of Yayoi Kusama and created gorgeous pieces in her style. We were preparing for our exhibition when the pandemic hit. All those great Kusama-esque pieces sitting in our storage room at the school. In the meantime, I’m working with the school principal on scheduling classes via Zoom.”
Sarah has posted a new CREATE thread on the topic of Thanksgiving. "Until next week let's share the things we are thankful for, and during this holiday season, what are some ideas to give back to our communities.
Head on over to ART YARD CREATE to share your stories and pictures!
Eden, Vera, Sarah and I are making great progress on our essay for The Journal of the National Art Education Association special issue addressing the fight against racial injustice by taking concrete actions that push art education to make structural changes toward becoming a field where all may thrive.
Vera is currently reading Helen MacDonald’s Vesper Flights and just sent over this quote pointing out it well summed up one of the ideas we address in our essay.
Congratulations to ART YARD Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick who was recently featured on the Brooklyn Art Councils website!
I am excited to have work included in two current exhibitions:
30/30 SMALL WORKS ON PAPER: Drawing Selections from the Kentler FlatfilesKentler Celebrates 30 Years! The exhibition is up through December 12, 2020. Kentler is located at 535 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn and gallery hours are Friday and Saturday noon-5pm.
Out of Isolation on view December 1st, 2020 through February14th 2020 at The Firefly Artists, 162 Main Street, Huntington, NY. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 to 6:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 8:00pm and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00pm.
Off I go to add to the Thanksgiving thread, I have a funny story about my mother to add to the conversation.