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Illuminating

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

We wrapped up programming for the Year to Heal and Restore this week with spectacular Advanced Studio Sessions on Zoom and in person, and at our partnership schools PS 6 and BNS.

Dennis reports from Jersey City: “Students at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6 JW Wakeman School, completed their illuminated manuscripts and every student was thrilled to stand before their class to read their poems or quotes and discuss their work.



Using gold metallic Sharpies, students "illuminated" the primary letters of their poems or quotes - then highlighted their texts with ultra-fine black Sharpies. Using a variety of types of markers and colored pens, they decorated and illustrated their pages.



Use arrows to scroll through and see PS 6 student illuminated letter artwork


Many PS 6 students are very proactive - thus, it was brought to my attention that the word "illuminate" can be found on page 302 of the Children's Dictionary. Students explained other meanings of the word - different from "to give light" - mostly falling under the definition of "clarity". I love when students do extra research!!!


il·​lu·​mi·​nate (i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt), 1 to light up; make bright: Four large lamps illuminated the room. 2 to make clear; explain: Our teacher could illuminate almost any subject that we studied. verb, il·​lu·​mi·​nates, il·​lu·​mi·​nat·​ed, il·​lu·​mi·​nat·​ing, il·​lu·​mi·​na·​tion, (i-ˈlü-mə-ˌnāt'shen), 1 a lighting up; making bright. 2 the amount of light; light. noun.


After classes, I worked with our 4 docents in the gallery to prepare and rehearse for an upcoming (altho small) event on Monday. Talk about overachievers! - the docents took the labels that I had prepared and made small index cards of their own notes. During our practice today, they asked me to leave the gallery for 10 minutes while they divided up responsibilities and rehearsed amongst themselves. I sat at a table in the library and listened to their planning, then returned to be given exhibition tours. I overheard them discuss having a group chat over the weekend to further prepare. WOW!


As another fantastic year at PS 6 comes to a close, I will share our students’ works with you - virtually. Vera's working on the video as I write this. We’re still following health protocols and, while our gallery is completely covered with artwork, we’re limited to how many can actually visit it LIVE and IN PERSON.

Under our theme of To Heal And Restore, our teaching artists Evelyn Beliveau, Sarah Gumgumji, and Vera Tineo brought well-structured lessons to each classroom - where students acquired many new art-making techniques, learned about the lives and works of various artists (inclining Vincent Van Gogh, Hilma af Klint, Stuart Davis, and Georgia O’Keeffe to name a few), and also picked up quite a lot of new vocabulary words.


The proof of their hard work is literally right on the walls of PS 6 - stunning self portraits, colorful abstracts, bright paper sculptures, customized masks, giant-sized recreations of some of the world’s most famous pieces, and bold designs (and portraits) of Yayoi Kusama.

We thank all those students who participated - their enthusiastic teachers -our docents who conducted these virtual tours, and the school’s terrific administrative staff - and of course Mrs. Faccone and Mr. Apruzzese.”



At ART YARD Art Matters at BNS students working with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau finished up their projects. Evelyn reports: “We finally got to see Olivia's finished waterfall collage, which came together beautifully.



For most of the students, it was week 2 of our introduction to drawing in perspective! To learn this technique, students followed step-by-step instructions: draw a horizon line, a vanishing point, and the front of a building; connect the vertices to the vanishing point with lightly-drawn guidelines; draw the far edges of the building and erase the guidelines. Several students also added trees and flowers, drawing them smaller and smaller as they receded into the distance. Mountain ranges were another popular subject.





This lesson was a challenge for many students. However, even when they exclaimed "I can't do this", they pushed through, listened to directions (and shared advice among their peers), and created beautiful drawings that achieve a sense of space and depth. I'm happy to end the year with a lesson that pushed students' boundaries for what they believe they can do and left them with insight into one technique for portraying three-dimensional space.


Critique abounded with comments on detail work, color, and the level of activity or stillness that students perceived in different pieces. Then, students gathered their work from previous projects throughout the semester: from Surrealist eyes to observational flower drawings to stained-glass-inspired collages. At the very end of class, some students shared their plans for the summer--we hope they enjoy, and keep making art!!




Earlier in the week Teaching Artist Vera Tineo led ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom in a session titled Commuting: Moving and Pondering in which we considered the experience of our regular commutes.


Vera enthusiastically shares: ART YARD has nurtured the creation of an amazing community of critical thinkers. This week I was able to present a concept that has long held my attention and see how everyone could interpret and reflect on their commute. In a lively group discussion we all analyzed our point of views and goals as we aim to reach a different location before jumping into our art making. Then I suggested as a challenge that we create our pieces using materials we might actually have with us on our daily commute.


Fatima, Marilyn and Meridith capture the experience of being in your own world, as we travel, even if surrounded by others. Also how that experience can ramp up our powers of observation.



Marilyn August, Commuting: Moving and Pondering


Nayarit was able to illustrate the feeling of a crowded train and frantic energy that can come from commuting in NYC. Watching her piece replicated the feeling of being overwhelmed most of us recognize as part of our shared transit experience.


Nayarit Tineo, Commuting: Moving and Pondering


Delphine took a conceptual view of the concepts of journey and navigation. She explained that as a walker she may not always have a destination but she likes to simply walk. Delphine really opened up the concept for the group to reinterpret what we deem a commute and what are the reasons behind taking that journey.


Robin and I (Vera) worked to capture the people and the atmosphere of public transportation, we honed in on our observation of other peoples’ emotional state and the rawness of the city.



We all explored, how commuting impacts us and our surroundings. Which lead to a great conversation and art pieces that invite a conversation.”



Teaching Artist Reg Lewis returned for a second consecutive week to workshop his spoken word piece, “The Attention Wars…” for the final 2022 session of ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at BWAC.


Reg Lewis Live at ART YARD Advanced Studio at BWAC


In addition to the dense monologue about his teaching experience, Reg presented a re-creation of the large, text poster painting which was included in the “The Way We See It” exhibit (mentioned in last week’s recap). This poster served as the “classroom” background to the presentation which essentially morphed from a poetic reading into a formal lesson about the extended purpose of the “Shhh” in the broad context of “reality” and the inner workings of the mind. The interpretations of the students and participating artists were equally as broad as the ideas presented on the text poster.



Evelyn’s striking artwork visualized three distinct aspects of the presentation: a (brown and burgundy) portrait of Reg which captures him in a brief moment of stillness during his animated performance, the tangible intestinal discomfort experienced by the narrator as a second-year teacher while trapped in his classroom, and a visual sculpture that intricately weaves together the many faces constituting “the voices” in the head.


Evelyn Beliveau, The Attention Wars I, II & III


Fatima also created multiple artworks during the presentation; in one case (similar to Meridith’s piece from last week) Fatima borrowed from the “Rubik’s Cube” described anxiety that twisted in the narrator’s “guts” to create a magically brilliant representation of the 3-D puzzle. Fatima also included her interpretation of the crossing “RAILS” that represent the past, present, and future featured in the “instructional” section of the performance; her other two pieces capture the “voices” sitting on the narrator’s shoulders, adding to the chaos in his classroom and his mind, while her elaborately decorated exclamation point seems to represent the urgent punctuation present in much of the narrator’s delivery.

Fatima Traore, The Attention Wars I, II, III, & IV


Speaking of Meridith, in this week’s installment, she created a vibrant meditation not only on the words and concept central to the overarching purpose of the text of “Being Present,” she also created a meditation on the rhythmic element of Reg’s varied verbal delivery which flows with similar strokes, tones, and dashes of color; you can see the fluid sound in Meridith’s dynamic artwork.


Assata’s artwork captured the aggressive nature of the specific and very intense expressions of the “Shhh” as encountered by the narrator. The harsh letters spelling out the “Shhh” accurately demonstrate this intensity which is compounded by the fiery and explosive chaos filling the classroom behind the narrator. In the middle of it all stands Reg, drowning as it were, in the relentless pressure from every side.


Vera’s artwork shared similar qualities by projecting the same intensity of color and mood through a symbol heavy composition that is also very fiery and explosive. From the underground train with feet, to the collection of odd shaped eyes, to the biting mouth that ignited the ensuing fireworks, to the outline of the narrator who literally went “blank,” Vera’s interpretation delivers a vivid, nightmarish scene.

Overall, to paraphrase from last week’s recap, all of the interpretations created by the participating artists represented the complex emotions and moments presented in Reg’s spoken word monologue which continues to expand. The workshop model of the session certainly assisted in the vision development of this project which appropriately brings the year to heal and restore to conclusion (although the aim to heal and restore should never cease). It has been an amazing year!



Other Art News


ART YARD Artist Karla Prickett writes: “I’ve been working hard to prepare all the works from Art Yard Zoom for my solo show on view in Kansas July 1 - August 31, 2022. I will show over 20 pieces. I am typing up an informational placard for each. Lesson Title, Teaching Artist, Inspiration, Subject, my response and materials used. It is a great way to honor all the artists, Advanced Studio and tell the story of how I happened to join the community! Who would have thought a public art tour and your incredible hospitality would lead to this fantastic “from-a-distance” friendship. And then adding the Ed Rath Salina experience on top of it!!! He’s amazing! The Zoom exchange has truly been a healing experience…A way to step out of the Covid cloister into sharing life with others, especially creative dialogue, stories, example and art making! A new network of fabulous personalities, so talented and endearing The BEST!”


Examples of art created by Karla in ART YARD Advanced Studio to be included in her upcoming exhibition.



Congratulations to ART YARD Artists Evelyn Beliveau and Vera Tineo who have several pieces each included in THEY/HE/SHE at BWAC through July 17th!


Installation view (without lighting) Vera Tineo and Evelyn Beliveau.


Kudos to ART YARD Artist Ardelia Lovelace for her part in Go Skate Day 2022, A Celebration of Community and Gender Diversity.



Shine on!

☀️



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