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What is Sepia-tone? (Answer in paragraph 4)

Claudia, Dennis and I presented a Gallery Talk at St. Joseph’s College Alumni Gallery. Gallery Director Ramona Candy organizes talks to coincide with the colleges Common Hour, a mid-day break between classes giving students, faculty and staff a time to connect and participate in the many campus goings-on.

I opened the talk by introducing what we do at ART YARD. The audience of students, faculty, staff, community members and St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden responded enthusiastically! We followed with a curatorial overview and insight into the work on view in our exhibition Transformers. Claudia and Dennis were eloquent about their own work. We wrapped up with a lively dialogue with the audience.


Teaching Artist Fatima Traore demonstrated various steps of gray scales and sepia tone scales, in watercolor, to 5th graders at Jersey City's PS 6. Students were preparing to add 'color' to their portraits of PS 6 students from the early 20th Century and learned some watercolor painting techniques as well creating shades and tints to use instead of an actual color palette.

Dennis discussed the meaning of the term sepia-tone, much to the students' delight (well, not all were delighted ...). Sepia is the Greek word for cuttlefish - a mollusk, of sorts, which releases a brownish ink (as opposed to a squid, whose ink is black) - hence the term sepia-tone.

Fatima was assisted by Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji in the process and keeping students focused and offered reminders that students in 1919 did not wear shirts with Nike logos on them. Bringing 5th graders into the past required a bit of a time machine but Fatima, Sarah and all students involved succeeded.

In addition to portraits of school kids, students also painted portraits of mayors, presidents, school principals and other members of Jersey City's 'society' from that period.

All discussed the terms 'monochromatic' and 'gradient' relative to the lesson. During critique, a number of students used these new vocabulary words when comparing and contrasting.

At intervals between 5th grade classes, Dennis journeyed down to the 2nd floor to meet with Mrs. Acevedo's students who are in the midst of an architectural drawing and painting lesson - continuing over the next few weeks. He recapped the previous lesson, discussed upcoming classes and worked with students on architectural terms and art terms such as archway, masonry, outline, projection, and acetate. Students read explanations aloud and then (with the text hidden), described each term in their own words and used them in sentences.

A lot going on when ART YARD BKLYN’s in Jersey City!


We will be presenting an Artists Talk and Dessert at St. Joseph’s College Alumni Gallery, 245 Clinton Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn on Saturday April 6th from 1-3pm.

Transformers exhibition view: work by Rachel Rath and Meridith McNeal

I hope you will join us!

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