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Immersive Discussions

Today Managing Director Dennis Buonagura and Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau were in Jersey City presenting ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6, proving that a well-planned lesson goes far to insuring great results!

Evelyn working one-on-one with student artist

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons

Dennis reports: "During the 2nd session of Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau's lesson on accordion books of the four seasons, students at our partnership school, PS 6, worked diligently and focused on what their finished pieces should look like. Some completed their works and started on second versions. Others wanted to begin again (we discouraged that idea!).

At work on Four Seasons Accordion Books, and work in progress

While several used nature as their guide (remembering our theme of Planet Earth), others went the abstraction route. Evelyn's watercolor painting technique recommendations were used in full force. Many students pondered about how to mix the right amounts of black and white to achieve gray (for gray skies of winter) and also succeeded with the tough task of using white watercolor paint (yup - we have some!) for snow. This led to lots of discussion about the color of snow - depending on lightness, darkness, shadows, etc.

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)

Our student Jayesh (class 312) not only did an excellent job with his art project today but was one of three winners of the PS6 Science Fair this week.

Jayesh shows off his work in progress

One student out of approximately 60-70 that we meet with each Friday took a different approach and made her accordion book in portrait orientation - quite unique and Evelyn and I were glad that she thought way out of the box.

At work (in a new direction!) & Student Accordion Book: Four Seasons (in progress)


Dennis reports this week at ART YARD Art Matters at The East New York High School of Art and Civics: “In preparation for our upcoming lessons celebrating Black History Month, Teaching Artist Fatima Traore brought students together into groups to chat about people who have inspired them. They categorized people into various groups - musicians, writers, visual artists, performing artists, athletes, activists, and more - and discussed creating portraits representing them. While the lesson will not be in portraiture, per se, students will create works on canvas as artistic representations.

Fatima demonstrating techniques for students

Fatima Traore, exampled portrait of Jean Michele Basquiat

Additional discussions covered plans for a possible Brooklyn Museum visit and viewing documentaries about the lives of selected celebrated people.

Dennis takes notes on class brainstorming discussion

While groups met, others worked as a sort of 'finish up' day. We will meet again for earlier (in the day) periods after the school's week of regents exams.”

Student at work

Completed “Meet Cute” student artwork


This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom we enjoyed the second half of Ajani Russell’s two-part session Ideographic Mandalas.

Ajani presenting the lesson

Ajani recaps: “This weeks lesson was part 2 of Ideographic Mandalas. Some of us continued our piece from last week, completing line work and moving on to add color or started a new piece. For the new comers, we created a breakout room and discussed representational art making, ideograms, pictographs and logograms in connection to early writing systems and Neolithic art. The finished works utilized a wide range of techniques and concepts. We discussed the use of reflection versus spherical symmetry as well as the use of negative space , which were demonstrated in Meridith and Karla’s pieces. Abriel (Bob)'s piece incorporated markers, stamps and words while Jacob explored the underlying meanings of emojis with pencil drawing. It was wonderful to see the different directions to which everyone took the lesson and the works inspired an immersive discussion. ”

Meridith McNeal, Ideographic Mandala: Minerva

Karla’s cut paper, ink, and collage mandala Sustenance depicts symbolic images of leaves, tree trunks, grasses, buildings, sun, moon, birds, pebbles of soil and the earth itself. Karla adds: “How did this evolve into seven of each symbol!! ?? Somewhat magical to me and totally unplanned. Thanks Ajani for a challenging and contemplative lesson! So inspiring to see everyone’s expression!!!!”

Karla Prickett, Ideographic Mandala: Sustenance

Abriel (Bob) Gardener, Ideographic Mandala I

Abriel (Bob) Gardener, Ideographic Mandala II

Ajani’s excellent visuals had as all thinking about mandalas around us. Pat noticed that her wall clock festooned with a handmade wreath from Guatemala becomes a sort of three dimensional mandala similar to one of Ajani’s examples in her power point. Karla made the connection to a beautiful piece of jewelry by Lin Stanionis, metals instructor at Kansas University, which she saw in a show at Reuben Saunders Gallery, Wichita.

Guatemalan wreath around Pat's clock (left), and jewelry by Lin Stanionis (right)

Pat Larash, Ideographic Mandala: Ideas and Freedom

Ajani Russell, Ideographic Mandala

Kevin Anderson, Ideographic Mandala (second piece) process sketch

Jacob Rath, Ideographic Mandala: Dating App Emoji’s (in progress)

Marilyn reports: “I really loved working on it the past few days. With the gloom and rain I was in my own world.”

Marilyn August, Ideographic Mandala: California Rain


Other Art News

Currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum are two superb exhibitions Nick Cave: Forothermore and Alex Katz: Gathering.

View from the window at the Guggenheim (photo Meridith McNeal)

I am longtime fan of Nick Cave’s work. I think his is a very important voice for our time. Forothermore is split over many floors of the museum along the outer galleries. The flow of the installation is excellent, and the range of work which includes older sculptures, wall pieces, installations, videos, Sounds Suits is superb! His most recent work - huge glittery tondos flanking the uppermost gallery – delighted and mesmerize. From the curatorial text: The title is a neologism, a new word that reflects the artist’s lifelong commitment to creating space for those who feel marginalized by dominant society and culture—especially working-class communities and queer people of color. The show both highlights the development of Cave’s singular art practice and interrogates the promises, fulfilled or broken, that the late 20th and early 21st centuries offered to the “other.”

Nick Cave: Forothermore installed at the Guggenheim

The installation of over eight decades of work by Alex Katz utilizes the quirky circular space of the Guggenheim to great advantage. The huge paintings seen from far across the space present an allure that could not be captured up close. Likewise, the vignettes and side hanging of small exceptional paintings, vignettes of tiny landscapes and early subway drawings are some of my favorites.

Alex Katz: Gathering at the Guggenheim


I hope that you too are enjoying immersive discussions and making art!

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