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I think my work is activism

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

The opening reception for our exhibition Earth Mothering was a great success! There were about 50 attendees over the course of the event. Most of the artists were able to join and all of those who did brought friends and family along for the celebration.

We were complimented on the content of the exhibition, the strength of the artwork and the range of styles and materials on view. I noticed people really took the time to read the labels which include artists statements to deepen the viewers understanding of each piece.

ART YARD Artist Kevin Anderson reviews the exhibition: “The various artworks and styles featured at the Earth Mothering art gallery were the highlight of the reception. Within the small yet comfortable space, it was easy to see and take in all of the different pieces. Each piece exhibited different techniques--clay, sewing, painting, embroidery--and I was drawn to the stylistic choices of each and the intent of the artists. Many of these artists I got to speak with at the reception; ART YARD Artist Elizabeth Morales Romero was one artist who got to showcase her piece in her very first exhibition. I was drawn to how she chose a tarp that was used by her family to serve food at the table, turning it into a symbolic and religious representation of her culture. I was even more impressed by how she initially began embroidery during a workshop held at the Brooklyn Museum, only taking 1 session and continuing her work from there. Overall, attending the reception allowed me to learn more about the artists themselves, making the reception a night to remember.”

Kevin takes a close look at Elizabeth's artwork

A happy visitor enjoys the exhibition!

Sarah Gumgumji, who has work included in the exhibition, adds: “I couldn't help but feel that Mother Nature's art gallery embraced everyone who attended while the magnificent artwork surrounded us. It was a genuine honor to find myself in the company of the great artists I have known for years and some I had the pleasure of meeting during the opening. The show was engaging, filled with various recognized art mediums such as thread, fabric, collage, watercolor, clay, and more, all within one room. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Meridith and Iviva for including me in this show.”

Vera chats about their work with Richie and Kevin

Earth Mothering remains on view through October 25, 2023 at The Gallery at 180 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn NY. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm or by appointment.


We resumed Advanced Studio in person in our studio at BWAC in the first of a three-part series of still life sessions drawing from observation taught by ART YARD Teaching Artist Candy Heiland.

Candy presenting the session

Candy summarizes her plan for this cycle and this session: “This series of classes is about Ways of Seeing (with a nod to John Berger’s book of the same name.) We looked at a variety of means of gathering images to for their creations such as working from observation, taking inspiration from photographs or found images, and working from memory.

As usual it was a glorious view from the window, and snacks were delicious!

This week we picked a figurine from my collection of vintage carnival themed pieces brought from home and augmented with thrift store finds. The focus is on drawing from observation of an actual item we can touch and feel. It was a delight to watch as the images evolved on the paper.”

Ajani created a playful clown with oil pastels and we discussed the use of highlights to accentuate the smirk on the face of the figurine.

Ajani Russell, Clown Figurine from observation on studio table with supplies.

Dakota conjured a shiny pig from the darkness of the black paper with color pencils.

Dakota at work

Delphine stepped out of her comfort zone to use oil pastels and a clown, both foreign to her usual markers. It was inspiring to see the three images created as she tried a variety of techniques. Meridith created a grounded physical environment to surround her colorful chicken.

Delphine at work. Clown drawing by Delphine, Chicken Pitcher drawing by Meridith

Sanyu used the color of the paper to be the bulk of the small dog, expertly rendered the shadows and details with color pencils.

Sanyu at work

Candy worked from observation of a pair of salt shakers. Hers a unique vantage point as the figurines were flat on the table surface showing the underside of their feet.

Candy and Ajani at work

Each artist was sent home with their own personal sketch book. Candy reminds us to please make at least one drawing from life in the sketchbook for next week!


Other Art News - Exhibitions to see

ART YARD BKLYN teaching artists, Maraya Lopez and V Tineo, ART YARD BKLYN board members Claudia Alvarez and Cecile Chong have artwork on view in SOMOS/WE ARE LatinX Artists of Long Island at the Long Island Museum of American Art. The exhibition runs through December 14th, 2023. From Brooklyn to Montauk, SOMOS showcases the works of artists who have grappled with questions of identity, history, and the many meanings of community. The exhibition is guest-curated by Mexican-American artist Kelynn Z. Alder.

Maraya and her piece at the opening of SOMOS WE ARE


I (Meridith McNeal) am honored to have several works included in Incarceration Affects Families & Community, Curated by Dianna Long on view at the Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center & Women's Residence, 1957 S. Spaulding Ave. Chicago, Il through November 18, 2023.

Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Private (Red Hook, Brooklyn) now on view in Chicago!


V Tineo also has work included in Across Imaginary Boundaries an exhibition of artistic production rooted in diasporic identity across the Caribbean while celebrating new modes of thinking about shifting identities within the bounty and beauty of Caribbean cultures. On view through December 14, 2023 at the Riverfront Art Gallery at the Yonkers Public Library, One Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY.

V excited about their ceramic piece included in Across Imaginary Boundaries in Yonkers

ART YARD artist Eden Moore writes: "I took a trip with some friends down to Bushwick to a small gallery, called Studio 45 that was exhibiting pieces in several mediums by Asian and Asian American artists. While the space was small, it was packed with a loud atmosphere of people, free drinks, and even a tattoo artist in the back! (My best friend got herself a tattoo on the back of her neck. I was against the idea at first, but it turned out pretty great.)

Photos by Eden Moore

I met one of the artists, an incredibly fashionable, non-binary, watercolor painter named Ming Hsun Yu. We also looked at the picture books, and even got to take part in one of the pieces. It was an interactive piece that asked “if you were going blind, what would you missed seeing most?” Visitors wrote their answers on Polaroid pictures of their eyes, and taped them to the wall underneath the question.

A lot of people wondered who wrote “my grandma,” because they thought it was a very cute answer – it was, of course, me. It was a great experience for a hot summer night, and filled with new friends."


What we are up to in the studio:

Ajani Russell, (Not yet titled), 2023, Flashe and acrylic on recycled cardboard, 60x40”

Ajani just completed this painting on top of the discarded box their TV came in. They describe the piece as yet untitled further explaining: “It’s about fears and friends.”


Candy Heiland, The Healer #2, 2023, acrylic on canvas banner, 30x20”

Candy explains: “This is a portrait my nephew’s daughter Aiyana Hightshoe. She was born on the birthday of their eldest daughter who died within days of being born. When Aiyana walks into the room she lights up the place. This is my portrait of this healer who I am blessed to know and love.


Recently completed in my own studio: one Magical Things piece, one Inside Outside Windowphilia painting, and one Objects of Significance paper sculpture:

Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Witch Store, 2023, watercolor on paper, 43x59”

Meridith McNeal, Magical Things Dried Fruit (From Golnar), 2023, watercolor on paper, 12x12”

Meridith McNeal, Crown for Autumn Chakra Ritual, 2023, watercolor on cut shaped paper, 9x7x7”


Sigrid shares: "Here are all the paintings I did at the pre-college program at RISD, the last one is unfinished. I had so much fun at pre-college and learned a lot about myself too. I think I do best when my time is structured and I have many tasks to complete. Now I’m excited to go to college, but I’m not applying RISD because the hill was to steep that the dorms are on."

Paintings by Sigrid Dolan, summer 2023


Dennis sent me a link to a terrific dialogue from the New York Times about Claiming Space between artist Carrie May Weems and theater & film director George C. Wolfe. This particularly resonated with me:


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