Communicating in New Ways

Updated: May 3

As we soldier on through this seventh week of quarantine in NYC, communication is both crucial and weirdly skewed. None of the casual conversations with our fellow New Yorkers, no stopping to give directions, no hugs from anyone outside your household.


I am thrilled to see ART YARD Artists each week on Zoom, I keep up with emails and talk on the phone more regularly than I did pre-quarantine. My written correspondence has certainly ramped up, and the wonderful cards which have come in through the mail have brought me much joy!

Our inspiration for ART YARD CREATE this week is communication. The thread which we start on Wednesdays is off to a great start:


Jane Huntington, "Zoom", 2020, watercolor on paper
Ardelia Lovelace, "Art Supplies in the Mail", 2020, photograph
Evelyn Beliveau, "Snapchat with my Sister", 2020, pencil on paper
Akash W., "Phone is my Favorite Source of Communication", 2020, pencil on paper
Meridith McNeal, "Magical Things from Quarantine Cards & Letters in the Mail", 2020, watercolor on paper

This week ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom Teaching Artist and Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University Marie Roberts led a wonderful portraiture session. Marie invited her friend, Renown Side Show Fire Performer Angelica Valez to model for our session.

Angelica and her dog on a break between poses

As Ajani enthusiastically wrote me by text: “I loved the model yesterday!! She smiled the whole time!”. I agree with Ajani. Both Marie and I thought the drawings were not only wonderfully realized but they also did a great job of portraying Angelica’s personality.


Our first piece was a front on view:

Sara Gumgumji, Angelica Portrait 1, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Jane Huntington, Angelica Portrait 1, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Marie Roberts, Angelica Portrait 1, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020

Then we drew a three-quarter view:

Sigrid D., Angelica Portrait 2, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Assata Benoit, Angelica Portrait 2, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Abriel Gardner, Angelica Portrait 2, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020

The final pose was in profile:

Fatima Traore, Angelica Portrait 3, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Zeke B. Angelica Portrait 3, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020
Ajani Russell, Angelica Portrait 3, Advanced Studio Zoom, Apr. 27, 2020

During critique we agreed that even through Zoom sessions we are all able to tap into our personal artistic voice. I love this – in fact, I would say it is a core value at ART YARD. Check out more of the drawings on the Gallery page.

We continue to paint, draw, sculpt, plan, sketch, and get our artwork into the world.

Teaching Artist Rachael Wren explains: “I’m working small! I don’t have a lot of time or space right now, so drawing is my way of staying connected to my ideas and practice. I find that I’m going back and forth between work that is directly related to what I had been doing in the studio, using a grid and color gradients, and drawings from photographs of trees that have a looser, more random structure. It occurred to me that this duality is echoing what’s going on in my mind right now during the coronavirus lockdown — wanting to return to the known order on one hand, and surrendering to a new, unsettled way of being on the other. I wonder how these trains of thought will ultimately come together in my paintings, once I’m able to get back into my studio.”


Rachael Wren, Drawing from Quarantine 1, 2020
Rachael Wren, Drawing from Quarantine 2, 2020

Florence Neal, Artist & Director of Kentler International Drawing Space, reports that she is finding it so calming to be working on new mokuhanga prints inspired by an image she saw of a vivid hand in waking dream.

Florence Neal, “Where Are The People?”, 2020, mokuhanga print
Florence Neal, “Sign Wave”, 2020, mokuhanga print

Teaching Artist Vera Tineo is developing a large-scale family portrait.

Vera Tineo, Family Portrait during Quarantine, in progress

Teaching Artist Flávia Berindoague has been keeping an Artist In Quarantine Diary and just completed a new painting.

Flávia Berindoague, Quarantine Artists Diary, 2020
Flávia Berindoague, “Geographical Distancing”, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 60x40”

ART YARD benefit planning committee member, artist, chef and healer Catherine de Zágon has started an interactive health and wellness site. The site which has inspiring and helpful videos and text pertinent to people of all ages.



I am pleased to have my work include in issue #153 of Reed Magazine:




Vote ART YARD Artist Ajani Russell and you may help us garner more support of our programs through this competition:




ART YARD is still in the running to receive a World Happiness Award, but we have fallen into third place. Help us by voting for us on this link!



Our Go Fund Me fundraising campaign for ART YARD Virtual Programs has raised more than 61% of our goal! You can help by donating what you are able and by sharing the campaign with friends and family or posting to your social media accounts.


The ART YARD Virtual Programs are going really well. We have welcomed several former participants who have moved out of NYC into the CREATE forum and Zoom sessions. We all just love the creative posse. I had a text message with an Advanced Studio participant last week who said: "I am on Zoom and on line forums a lot for school and work, I find it exhausting -- Except for ART YARD! Meridith, it always picks up my mood and gets the creative energy flowing!!"


Thank you all for helping to make this work sustainable.

Thank you so much for your interest in and support of ART YARD!


I hope you are hanging in there, healthy and finding inspiration,



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ART YARD BKLYN

Kentler International Drawing Space

353 Van Brunt Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Frida@ARTYARDBKLYN.org