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The energy is real

It’s been quite an amazing week at ART YARD BKLYN! Our party at the record shop on Saturday was fantastic!! We had spectacular Advanced Studio sessions on Zoom and in person. Dennis has been hard at work getting school partnerships going. Plus we have art news from AYB folks near and far…


This week’s AYB Advanced Studio on zoom led by teaching artist Reg Lewis asked participants to, DO SOMETHING UNCOMFORTABLE!!! Challenging Comfort Zones through Disruption. The lesson took its cue from the activism of Nan Goldin, photographer and artist who led an extensive protest against the pharmaceutical industry, and more specifically, the Sackler family who was in large part responsible for initiating the opioid epidemic. This event is documented in the critically acclaimed 2022 documentary, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.”

Reg presenting on Zoom

To begin, Meridith’s striking mood in her watercolor piece portrayed her wish to protest against the ever present iCloud feature which seems to force tech engagement, or else relationship, with the Apple consumer whether one is a fan of the storage service or not. The dark clouds seem to almost represent the large shadow tech casts over the natural world as the contrasting lightning bolt of protest strikes the telephone pole. Meridith’s “NO” clearly conveys her conviction.

Meridith McNeal, No Cloud

Ed’s piece is a sharp satirical statement that does an amazing job of calling into question the NRA’s conviction to bear arms. The angle of the work itself helps to illustrate the heavy tension and conflict between the opposing forces. It should be uncomfortable for an advocate of guns to ignore the message present in this provocative artwork.

Ed Rath, No More Guns

Reg’s artwork, with a play on words, simply wishes to make a request for the music streaming service Spotify to consider profit sharing with the artists they feature instead of cheating them. It is a challenge to his comfort zone because he acts in contradiction as he finds himself protesting a service to which he currently subscribes.

Reg Lewis, Stop It Spotify

Karla’s elegant collage is an economical political statement, also playing on words, related to the questionable “Leader” -ship of the AFP (Americans for Prosperity) and the Koch foundation. The background is a bold representation of the republican parties dubious party line to “Make American Great Again.”

Karla Prickett, Leader Ship

All of the artworks created during the session not only challenged the comfort zones of the participants, but also for the viewing audience and the intended targets for the statements of the activism.

As ever, Reg challenged us to go deep and the results were exceptional.


We finished strong in our third session of Figure Drawing at AYB Advanced Studio in person in our studio at BWAC. Participants were energized by a wonderful pasta dish made from scratch by Meridith and Robbie!

Evelyn demonstrating technique

Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau recounts: “It was wonderful to have a mix of repeat participants and newcomers to the lesson on our final day. We started with a recap of the concepts and process from the previous two weeks — progressing from faster to slower drawings, using gestural lines of motion, anchor points, and contours. Then we had a critique of last week’s work, with participants noting comparisons and contrasts between drawings: the use and placement of negative space, more emphatic or gentler mark-making, and different ways to get a sense of the figure’s weight.

Delphine and Sigrid at work

Mildred models

Christine, Elijah and Michelle at work

Then, following up on the introduction of shading last week, we did a warmup to test different shading methods. I demonstrated hatching, cross-hatching, finger blending, and the use of a blending stick for solid areas and gradients. Each participant spent a few minutes trying out each type of shading. We then dove into a series of 30-second and 1-minute drawings, with varied poses by this week’s wonderful model, Mildred.

Quick figure sketches

After a few drawings, Morgan asked a wonderful question about breaking down the figure into shapes, especially when the pose is more complicated (with bending, twisting, or foreshortened limbs). We segued into a demo in which I talked through the process of simplifying forms, separating what you “know” a body part looks like from the shapes you’re really seeing from your vantage point, and using the stick to measure distances and heights. Participants ran with these tips (and the earlier shading practice) in a series of 5-minute drawings. Finally, we began our last drawing of the day—a 20-minute pose—with an initial 1-minute period of just looking. This helped smooth the transition from the more urgent pace of the previous drawings and gave the artists a chance to plan out placement and notice relationships between forms before any marks have been made.

The resulting drawings display a range of approaches and styles, all clearly anchored in close looking. Many drawings make excellent use of light and shadow to define forms; others feature decisive or energetic mark-making with greater emphasis on contour; still others reveal the process of looking and refining as many marks coalesce to get a sense of the form. Particularly striking in this week’s drawings is the sense of the figure’s volume, which can only come from really looking and analyzing the forms as seen from a particular vantage point (not as remembered, generalized, or guessed at).

In keeping with the AYB theme this year to Do Something, we also informed participants about “Postcards from the Edge: A Benefit for Visual AIDS.” Visual AIDS supports artists living with HIV, preserves the legacies of those who have been lost, and produces contemporary art programs. This benefit is a wonderful opportunity both to support the cause and to put one’s art out into the world.

Artists are invited to send in postcard-sized (4” x 6”) artwork, which will be displayed anonymously at Berry Campbell Gallery from January 19-21, 2024, and made available to buyers for $100 each. Art is due Friday, November 17, so there’s still plenty of time to participate! We handed out postcard-sized pieces of beautiful handmade paper and encouraged all Advanced Studio participants to submit.


AYB Managing Director Dennis Buonagura reports: “We are very close to cementing start dates and schedules for our ART YARD Art Matters in-school programming. Most think that we start right away once September rolls around but there's red tape (understandably) involved - schools need to get their budgets approved, our insurance policy needs to be reviewed, and the school boards meet on particular days and one must be patient and wait. The principals of all of our schools are anxious for us to begin .... and it's during this time that I start the dance of teaching artists scheduling. BUT - it all depends on our start dates and we're getting really, really close.

We have 3 schools in Jersey City that have invited us back and one in NYC - but we are open for recommendations and/or suggestions from our recap readers. I'll follow up with whatever info you might offer.

Keep your eyes open for upcoming recaps to see many happy faces of public school students enjoying ART YARD BKLYN's in-school programs and events. It won't be long now.”

Dennis in action training students docents at ART YARD partnership school PS 6.


Our COVERS exhibition and party on Saturday night was so much fun!! We packed that little record shop with over 60 people. Plus it stayed open for record browsing so we had a stream of record enthusiasts who learned about AYB! I love the flurry of messages that happen after an exciting event!

  • It was a pleasure being at the Cover’s party and sharing that moment all together. It was an intimate, magical gathering, indeed! ~ Reg Lewis

  • I was so glad to be there! It was so fun! ~ Delphine Levenson

  • Yes, Yes, Yes – the party was AMAZING! ~ Vera Tineo

  • The show was amazing!!!! I had a great time and was so happy I was able to be there. You really are an inspiration, not just to me but so many people and it shows. I’m lucky to have someone like you to look up to. ❤️❤️ ~ Robbie Willis

  • Thanks for trusting me with my part! It was a great turn out ♥️ I’m so happy with our accomplishments! 💐 Last night was so much funnnn!!! ~ Abby Johnson (aka DJ Abby)

  • It was a great vibe we should definitely do it again. ~ Dakota Jones

Let’s do this & grow it

I’m in

The energy is real

~ Chef Lovelace, All Seasons Hospitality

I took a couple of pictures before things got rolling and then was just to busy to take more. Every ticket buyer received raffle tickets, plus we put the names of all attendees into the hat for a raffle of AYB Redbubble items.

Raffle artworks on display

Vera was excited to point out that the shop has a section devoted to Protest Albums!

The food, wine and seltzer was delicious and beautifully presented thanks to our volunteers, the music fun eclectic spanning time periods and styles.

Ardelia’s dad Chef Lovelace prepping our delicious hors d'oeuvres

Abby brought her whole DJ setup and kept the party hopping!

Abby and Blaze behind DJ Abby's set up at the record shop

We had a great surprise – Alicia Deneger, BWAC board president came early to the party and handed me a card addressed to ART YARD BKLYN. She told me to open and read … on a beautiful handmade card, written in a calligraphic hand … the BWAC board of directors have gifted us with use of the fantastic studio at BWAC for a year!!!!

I began our impromptu spoken program reading the card out loud. There was a big whoop from the folks in the room and a few people burst into tears! Then about a dozen students & teaching artists piped in with beautiful heartfelt comments. A party attendee commented to me later that we had so well scripted our beautiful speeches and I just had to laugh. 100% off the cuff! But as Abby pointed out, it’s pretty much what we do at critique every class! i.e. Speak honestly and respectfully and positively of the time we’ve just spent together and the work we’ve accomplished.

In a nice turn in customer service, yesterday I had a really helpful and productive zoom meeting as a follow up with Dee from Galabid to go over some questions and share our experience using the platform for our art auction and raffle. In the spirit of Doing Something, taking the time to follow up can really be worth it!

Our heartfelt gratitude and big love to everyone who made it a success!!

Delphine Levenson, Thank You


Other Art News

ART YARD Artist Eden-Nicole Moore, who is currently working on their film degree in London, spent the day at National Gallery looking at art. Eden writes: “Van Gogh’s strokes in person are crazy! (Pictured Van Gogh’s Chair) Monet’s Waterlilies are so much bigger than I imagined. The clarity of the water in Akseli Gallen Kallela’s Lake Keitele through me for a loop! And this tiger in Henri Rousseau’s Surprised caught my eye.” These photos by Eden are mostly details and shown in the order above:


I am pleased to report my painting Inside Outside Zoltar Speaks (Coney Island, NY) is currently on view in Type Speaks at The Dane Ledet Art Gallery at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA.


Congratulations to ART YARD Teaching Artist Marie Roberts on her solo exhibition!


Again, thank you for your generous support of what we do at ART YARD BKLYN!!


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