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Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, and bring it right here!

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

One very positive aspect of ART YARD Advanced Studio taking place on Zoom is that ART YARD folks from locations near and far join in! This week California, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota were all in the house as Minneapolis-based Teaching Artist Jacob Rath lead an excellent session titled Minneapolis Art of Protest.

We discussed the artwork of Ricardo Levins-Morales:

Ricardo Levins-Morales, Self Portrait
Ricardo Levins-Morales, Environmental Justice Poster
Ricardo Levins-Morales, Nothing About Us Wtihout Us Is For Us

Jacob recounts the session: “I gave a presentation of Ricardo Levins-Morales work, and discussed many of the techniques present in his posters. I began by discussing the importance of having an audience in mind for your work, and how Levins-Morales's work had clear audiences in mind. We discussed the importance of power poses and eye contact in political artwork. Some of these power poses have become symbolic gestures in their own right, such as a fist, or Rosie the Riveter flexing her arm. We also discussed how many of Levins-Morales's posters honor specific people. Some of his posters honor specific activists and organizers, while other posters honor people whose lives were cut short for unjust reasons, particularly police brutality/vigilante violence. Participants were asked to make a poster with a political message of their choice, and were given prompts to help them come up with ideas.

  • Who is in your community? Who is the audience for your poster?

  • What is something that you need? What is something that people in your community need?

  • Describe the world that you’d like to live in. How can that be achieved?

  • Who do you admire? Who inspires you?

  • Who is gone? Whose memory would you like to honor?

  • What needs to be discussed more? Who needs more representation? What can no longer be ignored?

  • What’s something you’d like to tell everyone?

Everyone worked in a variety of different mediums, which included monoprints, drawing, collage, watercolors, and digital artwork. Everyone worked with a variety of ideas and images. Meridith made a poster about mass incarceration, and Vera made a print about the detaining immigrant children. Halli honored Heather Hayer, who was murdered by Proud Boys. TJ used a quote from her guidance counselor "Sexuality is not up for debate" in her piece. Maya made poster of a woman with an afro wearing a mask posed like Rosie the Riveter. Eden pointed out that many women who were in "Rosie the Riveter" organizations during WWII are still alive, and have sewed masks for people during the pandemic.

Vera Tineo, No More Kids In Cages, monoprint
Meridith McNeal, Liberty Clouded/Be Loud, watercolor on paper with photoshop text
Halli Beaudoin, Heather Heyer Killed by Alt Right in Charlottesville (in progress), marker on paper
TJ Edgar, "Sexuality is not up for debate" (in progress), marker on paper
Maya Cubarle, Fight For Rights (in progress), cut paper collage

I'm still working on my piece honoring Helen Keller. While many Americans know that she was deaf and blind and eventually became a writer, they don't know what she wrote about: disability justice and socialism. My piece is an attempt to shed light on a part of history that has been purposefully downplayed.”

Jacob Rath, How Did I Become A Socialist?, colored pencil on paper

Marilyn writes about her piece: “In this time of COVID, we hear from a lot of science skeptics. This is a time when we need good science!”

Marilyn August, Science Saves Lives, mixed media collage

Eden explains: "In the 2020game Spiderman: Miles Morales, after the eponymous Black Latino Spiderman makes a name for himself in Harlem, the citizens who are happy to see a Spider-Man that looks and acts like them, give him a suit to represent their pride, underneath a Black Lives Matter mural.

Relating to Miles as a character on several levels, this was an incredibly striking image for me, the idea that Marvel’s most popular superhero in a main stream game made such a colorful and political statement that I had to re-draw it for myself.

Eden Moore, Black Lives Matter, digital drawing

Zahir and Sarah addressed discrimination and fighting for a change.

Zahir Prudent, Fight Back, pencil on paper with photoshop color addition

Sarah Gumgumji, All Lives !?..., marker with mixed media collage

Wayne focused on messages of hope:

Wayne Gross, Kiss of Life, colored pencil on paper
Wayne Gross, Hope Joy Love, colored pencil on paper

Ed takes on Georgia Senate runnoffs:

Ed Rath, Vote Them Out, paper collage

We were so pleased that Latin Teacher at Boston University Academy and good friend Pat Larash joined us. Fun Fact: Three of the ART YARD Artists -- Ed, Eden and Vera --have studied Latin!

Pat describes the context and inspiration behind her work: “Context/inspiration: A lot of Latin teachers (my colleagues and myself included) are trying to make Latin as inclusive as possible, because (a) Latin is cool, and there's something in it for everyone, and (b) the history of Latin and classics as a field has, sadly, been very elitist, racist, colonialist, etc., and has been used for gatekeeping, and we're trying to counteract that history. Earlier today, I had been reading an article called "Learning Latin with Dyslexia" by AnnMarie Patterson that helped me understand better what it was like for a student with dyslexia to study Latin. Most exciting for me were the specific techniques that Patterson uses--it took her a while to figure out these techniques for herself, and I am so grateful to her for sharing them. I don't know how many of my students actually are dyslexic, but I think that the techniques she describes are worth sharing with the whole class.

My poster says "LATINA EST OMNIBUS," or "LATIN IS FOR EVERYONE." I ran out of room with the last word (I didn't plan very well), so the squiggle to the upper right of the "B" is an abbreviation used in medieval manuscripts. In critique, Eden joked that I had come up with a new ending. Latin is all about the endings of words. Latin nouns put their grammar at the end. What does that mean? In English, we say "FOR everyone," and the "for" relationship is put before the noun "everyone." But in Latin, it's "omniBUS": "omni-" means "every," and "-bus" means "for." So, "everyone-FOR."

Pat Larash, LATINA EST OMNIBUS, marker on paper

Interestingly (and I wasn't thinking of this consciously when I made the poster), one of the techniques that Patterson describes is to use a bookmark to cover up the Latin word that you're reading, and move it slowly to the right so you can process the word in chunks, rather than getting tangled up in the whole hodge-podge all at once. In our example, you'd reveal just the "omni-" part at first, and think "hey, that means EVERY," and *then* reveal the ending "-bus," so you can then put it together: "everyone-FOR" = "FOR EVERYONE." So I was inadvertently replicating in my poster the technique that Patterson was recommending, by not revealing the entire ending of the last word :)”


This week’s discussion in ART YARD CREATE began with Sarah suggesting we think about holiday cards.

Dennis was the recipient and sender of great dog themed cards. Check out Fatima’s glamorous manicure as she shares Dennis card featuring his pugs Hazel and Olive drawn by Teaching Artist Marie Roberts.

I received many animal-centric cards. My cat Lola checking out my Cats with Figgy Pudding garland.

Lola with Cat Garland and Holiday Cards, Brooklyn 2020

Vera Tineo made this really cool video card:

And Nayarit added her series of splendid seasonal photos.

Nayarit Tineo, Vera with Pink Fire Escape, Queens 2020
Nayarit Tineo, Winter Tree, Queens 2020

Congratulations to Teaching Artist Rachael Wren who just completed a stunning mural commission for an out door dining kiosk. I love how it references Rachael’s abstract paintings and at the same time is obviously a site-specific piece.

Rachael Wren at work painting site-specific mural

Vera, Richard, Cecile and I all subscribe to the very interesting art newsletter HYPERALLERGIC. This morning’s email included an article called Have a Creepy Little Christmas with These Unsettling Victorian Cards. Oh my!


Good tidings we bring to you and your kin!

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