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This was a lot of I love art!

Updated: Jun 9

In little over a month over half a million new viewers have learned about ART YARD BKLYN!!

 

Thanks for these astonishing stats goes to ART YARD Ambassador Liv Collins and AYB Awareness: Liv Collins, Aria Henry, Dede Lovelace, and Meridith McNeal, who have made it our goal to get the word out!

 

 


You may even be reading the AYB weekly recap for the first time. If that’s the case, welcome! This is the place to see and read about our art filled week and the accomplishments of our intergenerational community of artists from age 4-80.

 

  • Would you like to attend more AYB classes?

  • Do you want to join us on trips to see art in person in NYC?

  • Do you have dreams of a gorgeous mural in the hall of your school?

  • How about the possibility of AYB in residence at your child’s school?

  • Can you envision yourself making art in a community where everyone is treated with kindness and respect?


Our programs are made possible by, and will be able to grow with the support of people like you!



 

We started the week in AYB Advanced Studio on zoom with an exciting session called Visualizing Sound with AYB Artist Eugenie Chao.


Eugenie presents on zoom

Eugenie summarizes the session and compliments: “Thank you everyone, for opening your hearts to try something different. I was incredibly impressed with your creativity in visualizing sound. And I love the variety of materials you all chose!


Note: still images threaded through the description of the artwork, composite of all video follows at the end of this section.

 

Eugenie Chao, Visualizing Sound

I would like to extend my compliments to each of you:

 

Meridith: I love the way you took the time to listen to your surroundings to respond with strokes of colors. The bright colors showed the light and exciting mood of a playground, and with the spaces in between the strokes, it almost looks like an aerial view of the playground with kids having fun. I also love that “slam” at the very end of your video – so fun!


Meridith McNeal, Visualizing Sound (Playground)

Hisla: Wonderful, wonderful interpretation of your beautiful painting. The perspective of looking up and hearing the airplane sounds created by the bracelet was brilliant and so creative! And your second version of the video reminded me of watching Joseph Arthur, who is a musician and painter paint live while listening to his music. I love the direct response from creating sound to painting the sound and vise versa. Well done!

 

Hisla Bates, Visualizing Sound

Karla: I absolutely love how you made your “2D” work on the object that you make sound with! It is so clever to combine the two into one. I definitely see and hear the brushwork you were talking about with your son’s drum playing directly reflected in your object and the cutouts you made – especially love the textural “red flames” as I see them in contrast with the long straight lines. 


Karla Prickett, Visualizing Sound

Karla writes: "Thank you, Eugenie for such a fun lesson! It was amazing how many interpretations and extremely creative solutions were the result of your inspirational lesson. I really liked Abby‘s ceiling fan and drawing and the cadence she created. Simone’s layers of drawings with the audio where a perfect interpretation of heartbreak. Everything - from the sound of children on a playground, the movement of a bracelet on paper, or Marilyn’s mastery of rim tones from a water filled cup - brought sound and visual art together, inspired by the movement in the works of Kandinsky and the sounds from Eugenie’s sculptures! My work was to create the visual art on a mailing tube and then add the applicator sticks to achieve a percussion sound. The tube could also be filled with other things such as rice or marbles to create a totally different sound."

 

Simone: My heart was pounding with the heartbeat you created in your video, seeing the live collage overlaying with the sound adds another dimension to it. I really love the incorporation of text in the first image you showed as well and your color choices of representing a broken heart. 


Simone Awor, Visualizing Sound

Simone adds: “It was a the journey of healing heartbreak. The colors are dense and dark initially. They also have more cutouts. As each layer is pulled away (processed and healed) the cutouts are less angular and sharp. The heart is becoming softer and lighter."

 

Then finally the heart becomes open and whole as the tough exterior opens in a vulnerable, soft heart.


Cammy: Your description of your drawing was incredibly visual – describing cat purrs and how that relates to water, and seeing the color yellow when you hear your cat purr. The strokes of brushes in multiple directions in various shades of yellow definitely reminds me of water along with your hand brushing the beads making the soothing sound.  


Briana (Cammy) Camacho, Visualizing Sound

Rachel: I love your 2D work and how it is in response to the loving conversation you are hearing in the background. Those interlacing circular forms and the strokes with your hand with water really made the piece merge – as if they are sound waves crossing each other. I also love the color palette you chose to use here. 

 

Rachel Palmer, Visualizing Sounds

Marilyn: I love your literal interpretation of the music with the perfect treble clef and staff floating above the soft colors of the rainbow in watercolor. Your sound interpretation was… WOW! Playing the glass on water in combination with percussive sounds – incredibly creative and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your talents on glass playing! 


Marilyn August, Visualizing Sound

Vee: You are a master of videos. Your recording of the train station platform, sounds, and just a snippet of your backpack, brought me to imagining commute in general and what that is like for others. I am also hearing those sounds that we normally ignore in a new way.    


Vee Tineo, Visualizing Sound (video still)

Abby: I love how you incorporated your DJing into this project – it is strongly reflected in the layering of sounds and visuals in your video and the adding of the faint music in the background overtime. And how cool it is that you used the ceiling fan in your drawing AND allowing us to both listen and visualize it in the video. 

 

Abby Johnson, Visualizing Sound

Delphine: The flow on your drawing is so well complemented with your choice of using water as your sound element. The shading on the drawing echoes the waves created on the water. I love the brush creating the soothing glass sound and how that is in conversation with the tapping of the hand. I was also mesmerized by the vibrating pattern of the water.


Delphine Levenson, Visualizing Sound (in progress)

Composite of video pieces made in this session by ART YARD Artist Taylor Branch:



 

AYB Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau tells us about ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at our studio at BWAC on Tuesday: “We celebrated Gemini season and the many AYB Geminis—including me (Evelyn), Dakota, Maraya and Meridith!—with an astrology-themed lesson. Along with Meridith’s signature pasta salad, many attendees brought a bounty of snacks and desserts to share, making for a merry time.


Evelyn Beliveau, Astrology (Gemini)
Dakota Jones, Astrology (Gemini)
Maraya Lopez, Astrology (Gemini, Wingged Mercury)

I began the lesson with an abridged survey of the many ways astrology has appeared in art over thousands of years. Since I’m nowhere near an astrological expert, conducting the research for this lesson led me to several new discoveries: the correlation of astrological signs with parts of the body (and their use in medicine), as seen in the Zodiac Man images from Renaissance-era illuminated manuscripts; and the decoration of objects with astrological symbols in the medieval Islamic world in order to invoke the symbols’ talismanic powers.


Zodiac images from Renaissance-era illuminated manuscripts

 

We also discussed more contemporary uses of the zodiac in the works of Martin Wong—whose Gemini painting from 1985 features constellations and a duo of firemen—and Nolan Oswald Dennis—whose Black Liberation Zodiac uses the iconography of the Black liberation movement along with star charts from the International Astronomical Union to create new systems of meaning.


Martin Wong, Gemini, 1985
Nolan Oswald Dennis, Black Liberation Zodiac, 2017-2023 

I left participants with an open-ended prompt as we started work time: consider how the zodiac, your own astrological sign, or any of the uses of the zodiac from art history resonate with you, and take that as the starting point for creating imagery. I recommended the use of fluid media like watercolor or acrylic to encourage looseness and experimentation, but left the final choice of materials up to each participant. Artists made use of watercolor, acrylic paint, pencil, and pen, working on substrates including paper, canvases, canvas boards, and found materials.

 

When it came time for critique, the diversity of the works created immediately jumped out at me. Then several common threads emerged; many of the pieces featured deep blues, oranges, and earth tones, compositions with centered subject matter, and/or a dreamlike atmosphere. Faces also appeared in several pieces, pointing to the personal nature of the topic. As the conversation unfolded, we discovered that several Cancers (LivSkylar, and Leni) had independently chosen to include similar silvery-gray moons in their artworks.

 

Liv Collins, Astrology (Cancer)
Skylar Clemens, Astrology (Cancer)

Skylar adds: “I was painting the moon because Cancer is ruled by the moon, and felt like the water color was working against me, but in the end I appreciated how it came together. I wasn’t thinking or feeling any specific meaning in the process besides the moon and using cooler colors since Cancer is a water sign. While I was washing the brushes, I realized my piece also reminds me of water circling into a drain. It reminded me about how a lot of ideas usually come to me while I’m meditatively washing dishes or while in the shower. Now I view my piece as two things that comfort and inspire me: the moon and the light it radiates, and the refreshing nature of water that helps my thoughts flow. Thanks for today’s class! I really enjoyed meeting everyone, and appreciated the comfortable environment to be creative in.”

 

Lenika Silva, Astrology (Cancer)

To point out just a few individual artworks— Delphine received several compliments on the precisely and vividly colored swirls of fins on her work-in-progress featuring koi fish, as did Simone for her expressive depiction of eyes. Participants likened Ariel’s stately blue face surrounded by stars to a Tarot card, and Vee’s painting on an envelope charmed us all. Taylor’s piece reminded me of the work of Richard Pousette-Dart with its inscrutable, hieroglyph-like language of symbols. 

 

Simone Awor, Astrology (Scorpio)
Ariel Abdullah, Astrology (Virgo)
Vee Tineo, Astrology

Abriel (Bob) Gardner, Astrology (Virgo)


Abriel adds: "I was looked up inspiration for my sign online and saw that the fox was the animal that represents Virgo, so i painted a fox in the stars. On the second one I was thinking about how Virgo is an earth sign so I did some intuitive abstract earthy green watercolor." 


Taylor Branch, Astrology, (Leo sun Aries moon)

Richard Pousette-Dart, Le Bijou, 1957 and Golden Door, 1989

 

Reshonah represented her sun, moon and rising signs in their symbolic forms.

 

Reshonah Bennet, Astrology, (Gemini, Taurus, Aries)

Meridith compared Hisla’s portrait of Aries to the 2023 sculptural installation Witness in Madison Square Park by painter Shahzia Sikander.


Hisla Bates, Astrology, (Aries)
Shahzia Sikander, Witness, 2023

Ed went back in time and feeling to ancient Egypt and thought about the stars in a sky unpolluted by electric light for his piece Starry Night at Giza.


Ed Rath, Astrology, Starry Night at Giza

We had many more conversations about mood and color, the resonance of specific parts of the body, and connections to history. One connotation of Gemini that resonates with me is the idea of multiplicity, multiple truths or interpretations existing together; I appreciate that the works from this lesson leave room for multiple entry points, depending on one’s own relationship to astrology.


 

Dennis reports on the whirlwind of end-of-school-year ART YARD Art Matters School Partnerships at PS 6 and PS 17 in Jersey City: “On Monday, I had a fantastic installation team - Evelyn B, Evelyn O, and Gaby. Evelyn O and Gaby organized and applied dozens of flowers, hills, bees, butterflies, clouds, and trees onto large blue and green watercolor painted paper for the "Create A Garden" project while Evelyn and I hung all other projects. Lots of cooperation and teamwork - and lots of stapling, leveling, organizing, and push-pinning! 


PS 6 exhibition installation in progress


Tuesday brought some of us back to PS 6 for further installation work and docent training - all taking place in our gallery at the school. Wednesday morning, before our day at PS 17, I went directly to PS 6 to meet again with the docents (daily refreshers really help docents in training) and then taxi-ed over to PS 17 for a day with Evelyn B (for 4 Warhol and Johns classes, back to back) then our afterschool programming.

 

I bought a stack of oversized cotton T-shirts for the students to wear while painting the mural out in the school yard.  Options for inexpensive painting aprons these days are polyester or plastic - waaaay too hot to wear outside in the sun and heat.  The shirts worked quite well - and students worked diligently with Gia's direction and guidance on the abstract mural.  Our group was joined by Gaby this week - who took leadership of Team Bubbles. 

 


Thursday brought me back once more for a final day of docent training (Gaby on hand for final touches on the garden project) and for sprucing up the gallery in anticipation of Friday's opening event.

 

Garden, site specific wall collage, PS 6
 

Evelyn recounts further: “New beginnings at PS 17! Each of our classes began a new project this week, and the fresh challenge seemed to inspire a high level of focus. As the end of the school year approaches, these students are poised to finish strong with another take on the Pop Art movement.

 

Evelyn demonstrates painting techniques

Students in Grades 7 and 6 are creating portraits of their classmates in the style of Andy Warhol. We looked at Warhol’s iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, and others, noting the use of simplified shapes and vivid, flat colors. Some students had drawn portraits before, and others hadn’t; I gave instruction on portrait drawing, including several rules of thumb for locating the facial features in relation to one another. Then, students paired off to make portraits of one another from observation—giving their classmates the celebrity treatment, à la Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame!” Students took on this challenging task with aplomb, and many were quick to offer advice to their partners on how to depict their own faces. I worked closely with several students who struggled with the details of noses, lips, and hair, particularly the intricate shapes of braids or dreadlocks. For the first day, we used pencil on watercolor paper. Soon, students will choose bright pop-art color palettes and complete their pieces in watercolor paint.



In our Grade 1 class, our new project takes inspiration from another Pop Art artist: Jasper Johns. This class looked at an example of Johns’s paintings of targets, and we discussed the use of a common, recognizable shape as a structure for exploring color combinations and paint textures. Each student received a target template and chose their own set of colors to fill in each ring of the target. After a watercolor painting demonstration, in which I modeled and explained how to control this tricky medium, students got to work and really focused. Their works in progress are already looking bright and mesmerizing.

 


With Grade 4, we looked at Andy Warhol’s Cow Wallpaper from 1966, in which he used his signature saturated color and repetition to cover gallery walls with the pink head of a cow on a yellow field. Each student received a piece of watercolor paper, a pencil, and a ruler, which they used to divide the sheet into columns. Then, everyone chose an animal or animal head and began to draw, filling the columns with many iterations of the same image. In future weeks, each student will choose their own two-color scheme to complete their small-scale wallpaper designs.



 

Fan mail excerpt from the Afterschool Visual Arts Coordinator at PS 17:

 

Dear Dennis, We are having SO MUCH fun painting our mural outside!

THANK YOU Dennis and Gia for making this collaborative creative experience possible!!

Have a great Day!

Miss Hannah Rotunno



 

Today at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 we celebrated the opening of our latest exhibition! 

 

Dennis describes the event: “Another successful exhibition opening today at PS6, our partnership school in Jersey City.  I’ve honestly lost count how many openings we’ve had - we’ve partnered with this terrific school for many years and have hosted annual (with the exception of virtual exhibitions during the pandemic) events every June.


The citation of excellence AYB received from the New Jersey General Assembly, Assemblyman, now Senator Mukherji is framed and hanging proudly in our gallery:



All of this year’s lessons were exhibited - the Shepard Fairey inspired portraits, the Create-A-Gardens collage, Solar Eclipse paintings, Realism in 2024, and the Aleatoric Drawing collaboration pieces.  


Docent tour for invited guests

Many thanks to our smart, poised, and eloquent docents - Hattie, Tanish, Srihari, Adam, and Isabella.  


None of this could have happened without our beyond excellent teaching team - Evelyn Beliveau, Gabriela Ors, Evelyn Ochoa, and Ash McKenzie. Evelyn O. and Gaby came to Art Yard Bklyn as volunteers/interns from Fairleigh Dickinson University and ultimately became teachers-in-training.  They developed and executed the garden collage project (and installed it - a BIG task!). They took suggestions and criticism extremely well and made wise decisions.  AND they humored me by granting my request for a small replica of Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain to be part of the scene (even though I’m sure they were thinking “he wants a big fountain in a flower garden?”).



We had many visitors at the exhibition including Mrs. Tardiff and Mrs. Bracken as well as several classes of students who worked in our projects, and some notable VIP’s: Ellen Ruane, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Melissa Cuccinello, Supervisor of Visual Arts, Kimberly Crowley, Supervisor of Mathematics, Kristin Mattaliano, Supervisor of Gifted and Talented, plus several Early Childhood Support Staff members.


Of course -  tremendous THANKS to Principal Joseph Apruzzese and Assistant Principal Lauren Faccone for all of their support, encouragement, and cooperation. 

 

Sample comments from our guest book

 

As if all that weren't impressive enough for one week, here is today's PS 17 mural update from AYB Teaching Artist Gia Gutierrez!


ART YARD BKLYN mural at PS 17 (in progress)
Full view: ART YARD BKLYN mural at PS 17 (in progress)

 

Other Art News

 

A great way to support ART YARD BKLYN and bring some more art into your life is to purchase items from the AYB storefront at REDBUBBLE. In honor of today’s opening at PS 6 we have added four more designs, portraits of Malala Yousafzai, Jonas Salk, Shepard Fairey, and James Baldwin done in session with Evelyn and Dennis inspired by the artwork of Shepard Fairey.

 


 

Simone and I went to see Hanne Tierney perform Why? at FiveMyles last night. We recommend a trip to FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights to see the show before it closes.


WHY?? asks the question: “What has the human species done to its males?” Throughout history, humans have consistently dealt with conflicts and confrontations by sending men into battles and wars to kill and slaughter each other off. What an appalling burden we have settled on the men, not least the knowledge that their lives are completely expendable. It is reasonable to ask why men have fallen into the trap of periodically killing their own population.” (from the promotional materials) Why? will be performed Thursday – Saturday through June 30, 2023 and tickets are free!


Hanne Tierney’s Why? in performance and Jess Fredrick drawing at FiveMyles


Also on view at FiveMyles in the Plus Space is A Connected Line, drawings and paintings by Jess Fredrick on view through June 30, 2023.  The work, as the artist writes, “frequently showcases subjects whose outward stare or postural gestures engage the viewer in an off-kilter way, emphasizing the unsettled wonder of these non-verbal exchanges. They can suggest glimpses of empathy, tension, and calm.”


 

Thank you for taking the time to read about what we have accomplished this week!


💗💗💗


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