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Inherent humanity first and foremost

The final Artists Talk for our exhibition Transformers at St. Joseph’s College was a great success!

Dennis, Rachel, Jane, Flávia, Quentin, Fatima and I discussed our work as artists, educators and transformers.

I encouraged our audience of friends, family, community members, faculty, staff, and alumni to be actively engaged in the dialogue with questions and comments. I am particularly pleased to report ART YARD Teen Eden Moore took this to heart by adding fabulous anecdotes and insight. We couldn't have planned a better testament to our success as educators.

One of our guests Greg Wolownik impressed us all when he commented: “I was immediately drawn to Fatima’s piece in the center, where the woman's facial features and expression really captured her emotion. It was only during Fatima's presentation that I truly noticed the burn scars on the woman's body and head. As a nurse, we are often trained to focus on the disease. We will often refer to patients by condition when discussing with one another, ‘the man with pneumonia in room 12’ for example. I was taken aback how her paintings focused my gaze and, instead of thinking on the pathophysiology of the condition, I was instead drawn in by the subject's face, which really captured her inherent humanity first and foremost. It was a surprising treat and I am still very touched by the experience.

We are grateful to Director Ramona Candy for offering us the opportunity to exhibit our work and engage with the public on more than one organized event.


Spring has sprung in Jersey City and so has the multitude of art projects at PS 6, all in conjunction with ART YARD BKLYN's theme of transformation and the school's centennial celebration.

Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston led a select group of artists in a lesson about architecture and watercolor painting. Images of their alma mater were projected onto giant sized paper which students outlined in ultra-fine-tipped markers.

These drawings were spread out on tables and on the floor where students mixed colors and applied the paint using the "wet-on-dry" method. Students were completely focused with their eyes on the prize: gorgeous portraits of their school at the time of its important transformation in 1919.

5th graders worked closely with Teaching Artist Rachel Rath in a lesson about Jersey City cityscapes, both vintage and contemporary. Rachel showed students images of Delft pottery from the Netherlands and plates made by the Spode Company from England - as well as samples of works by the artist, Susan Hamburger.

Using a compass, Rachel created plate sized circles on Bristol paper and demonstrated the decorative manner in which the pottery is designed, most notably, its borders. Students drew images in pencil of Jersey City's classic movie palaces, churches, government landmarks and, of course, the PS 6 building. Vocabulary words learned were: motif, elaborate and decoration.

3rd graders worked with Rachel on creating decorative origami paper for an upcoming lesson on flower making. They learned about repetitive patterns and design - and filled their 5-inch square papers, using colored pencils, with triangles, hearts, stripes, stars, cat faces and watermelons. Dennis told students the story of the school's namesake, Jotham W. Wakeman, and his love of cursive writing and flowers (his favorite being the carnation), which led to several students creating lovely watercolor paintings of flowers.

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore finalized her portraiture lesson with a 5th grade class, done in the style of American artist Kehinde Wiley. Students painted portraits which were carefully cut out and attached onto patterned paper, representative of Wiley's intricate backgrounds.

Several students opted to paint detailed backgrounds instead of using the collage method which are excellent comparisons to Wiley's works. Fatima taught students to incorporate the pattern of the paper into their portraits by extending and overlapping the design - with great success by all.

Teaching artist Sarah Gumgumji assisted with all lessons every step of the way.


Today I met with outstanding artist and Kentler International Drawing Space Director Florence Neal. Florence is just back from Paris where she presented at Drawing NOW Paris Art Fair. Traveling is an important inspiration for an artist. Add to the travel the opportunity to meet and share artists, curators, and thinkers from around the globe and magic can happen.

I love this book of drawing by Florence’s new friend and fellow presenting artist Emil Ferris:


We are thrilled to announce ART YARD Summer Session intensive art programs will be based out of Kentler International Drawing Space in July.

You can help us to continue and expand our programming in a couple of ways:

I have donated Inside/Outside: Miss Fortune (American Pie), ink and watercolor on paper, 43x33”. 100% of the proceeds will support ART YARD at Kentler programs! Bids can be placed by emailing

Kentler serves as a fiscal conduit and home base for ART YARD BKLYN. That means by buying a ticket to the Kentler benefit you are contributing to our partnership.

For your ticket price of $250, you get to select one of the stunning artworks donated by artists in support of Kentler! Doors open at 6pm May18th 2019.

Thank you for your participation, interest and support of ART YARD BKLYN!

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