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We are all a piece of confetti!

Updated: May 16, 2023

We began the week with ART YARD Artist Claude Viaud Peralta presenting The World is Yours. In this next exploration of our Earth Mother / Mother Earth theme we made artwork which reflects upon what the world means to us.

Claude presenting on zoom

For inspiration Claude shared his own photos of art works he found personally inspiring including sculpture by Brooklyn-based Jorge Luis Rodriguez, and as well as images from Mie Yim’s exhibition Nightshade on view at Simone Subal Gallery (131 Bowery, 2nd floor New York, NY) through May 26, 2023. Followed by a short National Geographic video called Earth 101.

Jorge Luis Rodriguez Brooklyn Studio

Mie Yim’s exhibition Nightshade

Claude shares: “All the artists successfully followed the objective, sharing their individual perception. Everyone's ideas were very creative, crafty, and insightful (detailed as windows, worlds, and portals we can look into). Towards the end of the class I was compelled by how much complimenting/critique added its own layer of conversation. Our shared dialogue built bridges that allowed us to grow understanding on how we each perceive our planet.”

Ed pointed out that we all had interesting things to say about the artwork (and took great notes!):

“This artist’s work looks like Germs meet Kandinsky.” Claude Viaud Peralta, talking about the work of contemporary artist Mie Yim.

Mie Yim, Bronx Boogie Woogie, 2023

“My short, stop-motion video examines the contemporary Explosion of Information, and my attempt to make sense of it.Maraya Lopez

Maraya Lopez, The World is Yours

“Walking in the Woods – Earth’s Garden, is my depiction of the world as a peaceful, contemplative experience, not unlike the way Thoreau talked about it.” Ed Rath

Ed Rath, The World is Yours, Walking in the Woods – Earth’s Garden

“I also thought of depicting nature as place of solace and renewal. In searching for an image to express that, I thought of the woods; a basket containing all the important things in my life, and Noah’s Ark. I settled on the image of the Acacia Tree, which represents immortality in the ancient Hebrew and Egyptian cultures because of its durability. Behind it stand the most enduring friendships of my life on planet Earth.” Marilyn August

Marilyn August, The World is Yours, Acacia Tree (in progress)

“My picture depicts the lone surviving Clematis in my front garden after the planter repair work necessitated cutting my carefully tended vines with over 50 huge buds.” Meridith McNeal

Meridith McNeal, The World is Yours, One Remaining Clematis

"While visiting the Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Garden we were amazed when some butterflies landed gently on my friend’s outstretched arms.” Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson , The World is Yours

“I used circles, the spiritual symbol of the earth, to promote the idea of harmony in nature.” Claude Viaud Peralta

Claude Viaud Peralta, The World is Yours

“Thinking about the earth made me think about a green circuit board, which, with all its complexities, is a world of its own.” Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson, The World is Yours

“We are all a piece of confetti!” Karla Prickett

Karla Prickett, The World is Yours (in progress)

Maraya compliments: “Ed’s piece reminded me of the satirical illustrations from the book, “Tales of Rabelais”, illustrated by Gustave Doré. Like much of Ed’s work, there is a sardonic wit that comes through in his drawing style and the facial expressions on people and animals.”

Maraya holds up “Tales of Rabelais”, illustrated by Gustave Doré during critique


In the third of a three-part series of ART YARD Advanced Studio in person sessions taught by ART YARD Teaching Artist Vera Tineo we used bits of natural ephemera as part of our mono printing process. Vera also challenged us to work collaboratively on a huge Plexi plate, a process which Jules and Evelyn enthusiastically embraced!

Jules and Evelyn collaboratively printing

Vera sums up: “This week at our yard, our creative energy exploded off of our hands. Removing and applying paint to a surface of acrylic to create a large model print is how we needed to end this Earth Mother / Mother Earth mono print series. We had fun, explored colors and shapes as a response to our relationship with the weather – often times disorienting in its irregularity. After several successful large-scale prints, I encouraged artists to be selective and create smaller compositions from the large inked plate.”

Collaborative mono print 1

Collaborative mono print 2

Collaborative mono print 3

Individual mono prints

Setting up prints for critique

We were treated to a most wonderful glowing red orb of a sun setting over the river! Icing on the cake of another fantastic evening in our studio at BWAC.

Red sun at night, sailors delight.


Managing Director Dennis Buonagura recounts: “Such a great amount of work is going on at PS 17, our partnership school in Jersey City, that our photos just about speak for themselves.

Fatima working on the Lion King backdrop

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore and the after school group put finishing touches on the backdrop for the school's production of The Lion King - with some more tweaks and details needed to be done next week. I ordered S hooks to fit in the grommets for the canvas to be hung on the stage - which will allow students to rehearse in front of the backdrop and the Pride Rock prop.

Backdrop central detail

Simultaneously, Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau continued work on the Baby Simba prop and the two of us had in depth conversations about its details - we don't want it to be cutesy, or doll-like, or not even fully realistic - so we talked about whether his eyes should be opened or closed (after all, he is a newborn) and his paw pads and toenails should appear (or should they appear at all????) A great many discussions going on about Baby Simba's anatomy - but very important factors. Director Maya Reyes stopped in for a visit and said something to the tune of "I love this. You guys really cover all the little details." Well, SHE does too!!

Evelyn at work on Baby Simba prop (use arrows to scroll)

Evelyn's great concept of foam masks worn like caps are turning out to be just perfect. Two prototypes (Mufasa and Pumbaa) were brought to the auditorium during the rehearsal for try-outs. They were placed on the heads of the performers playing Mufasa and Pumbaa and SUCCESS! Even during some dance scenes, they stayed in place. We are aware that there are some other more elaborate dance sequences (including a big flip!) so we'll chat with Maya for workaround ideas.

Evelyn also used masks designed by students to make the prototypes and will use them again for some cardboard mask creations for the ensemble.

Student designed mask reimagined in foam

We had a visit from the principal, Dr. Brower, and got his thumbs up for all of our work. You all know that I LOVE visits from principals to the classroom as do the students (I think .... at least I HOPE they do).

Additionally, as always, compliments to art teacher Ralph Pryzanowski for his assistance and cooperation in all of our Lion King activities and for allowing us to invade his space every Wednesday without complaint!

Did I mention that there's a great amount of work going on at PS 17?”


We welcomed a new student to our class at The East New York High School of Arts and Civics - Jacob, a 9th grader who was amongst the group to visit FiveMyles last week.

Jacob at work in class

Dennis explains: “At the school, students need permission from their principal to participate, and a lot is taken into consideration - scheduling, attendance ratings, grades, academic requirements, etc. Jacob fit the bill 100% and met all the specifics. He jumped right in too - after an overview from Teaching Artist Fatima Traore about our "Remastering The Masters" lesson, Jacob started his draft and completed a lot on his very first day.

He requested to base his piece on one of his favorite artists (not one of those that Fatima and I selected for the class to study) and we made an executive decision and agreed. Let's see where this takes us - Jacob chose the artist Araki and began with a pencil drawing of himself in place of one of the artist's subjects. This will surely be a bit of a learning/teaching curve for me, and Fatima too!

Other students continued with their pieces - some adding collage, some still painting. Joshua's The Scream is morphing from a shattered glass concept to more like a stained glass look. He’s moving into the collage stage now, as is Elizabeth. Rah-née started a 2nd piece based on America Gothic. Ines, always the perfectionist, is not 100% happy with her drawing of Hazel (in the Kahlo-like self portrait) so she's been tweaking it and trying to get her dog Hazel's facial expression and 'hair style' just right. I suggested maybe drawing Hazel in profile just to see if she might be happier with it and she raised her eyebrows (Ines' eyebrows are very UNlike Frida's!) which I translated into "I might just try that".

In lieu of an exhibition, I asked the principal for permission to hang students' work in available spots around the school such as teachers' lounges, bulletin boards (while not our favorite - they do have excellent visibility), reception areas, and the like. In preparation, Fatima and I are planning to teach students how to write an artist's statement and assist with project labels, next week.”

Ines at work


Teaching Artist Fatima Traore and I, as always, spent our Friday with the delightful 1st and 2nd graders at PS 6, our partnership school in Jersey City” quips Dennis, continuing, “With their enthusiasm in art-making, their inquisitive questions (I often have to google for the answers - today I was asked "do dragonflies lay eggs on land or in water?"), and their 100% participation in our critiques, they really are "the wind beneath my wings" - which might be why I'm ready to collapse once leave them and hit the PATH train.

Rainbow Hummingbird reference photo and student artwork

Enthusiastic discussion at PS 6

Students painted the flip-sides of their cut out flying creatures and set them aside to dry. Earlier in the week, Fatima and I tested 3 different sized hole punchers to determine which hole seemed the least invasive to the art-work but mostly which hole fishing wire would fit through. We chose the smallest and selected a 2nd grader's work as a try out. The artist was given the option to decide where the hole should be punched - in the creature's head, back, or wing - and how it would affect the way the piece hung. The artist decided to punch the hole in her hummingbird's head - and a very wise decision as it worked perfectly. I brought the bird down to our gallery to determine the height to hang. It's ALL a process!

Students who finished early on in the class were assigned to paint nests, bird houses, bee hives, and the like. Some will live on as paintings (to be exhibited) while others will be cut and hung along with the birds, bats, bees, doves, flying squirrels, and so on.


During introductions (we always recap last week's lesson - we put a 60 second cap on the student who's selected to remind the class how we left off the prior week), a student educated me on the Pigeon Lady from the film "Home Alone" (I was sad that none of them knew the Bird Lady from "Mary Poppins"). I, in turn, told the class about Mother Pigeon who feeds pigeons in Union Square Park and makes hundreds of beautiful felt pigeons - now they all want to visit Mother Pigeon. Maybe a PS 6 field trip!!

Mother Pigeon




Other Art News

Our pals at BWAC, 481 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn have been busy installing their upcoming exhibitions which open tomorrow Saturday May 13, 1-6pm, all welcome! Included in the exhibition are works by ART YARD Artists Candy Heiland and Marie Roberts. I enjoyed getting a sneak preview of several ceramic works by BWAC Artist Susan Handwerker.

BWAC exhibition announcements and ceramic turtle by Susan Handwerker



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