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With skill, focus, determination

School partnerships are vital to the mission of ART YARD BKLYN. We develop and nurture these collaborations with the aim of creating lasting long term relationships that enhance the school community. Managing Director Dennis Buonagura oversees all school partnerships with finesse. Seeing him in action makes me think of Dennis’ knitting – with skill, focus, determination, the ability to see ahead to a goal and perseverance the yarn becomes a scarf, a hat, a sculpture. Dennis is one of the most socially active and culturally engaged people I know. One can’t get a meeting in without a once over of his chocked-to-the-brim kitchen wall calendar. This trait carries over into his exemplary guidance in our schools. Everyone from teaching artist to classroom teacher, from the office staff to principals enjoys working with Dennis. His wit, care and wisdom is nonpareil. We are grateful to Dennis for insuring our school partnerships are deluxe.

ART YARD Managing Director Dennis Buonagura

After a semester of planning we are back in action with ART YARD Art Matters in the School!

Dennis writes: “I am thrilled to report the start of a great new partnership with The East New York Arts and Civics High School. Generally, the first day at a new school has us in a 'getting to know you' phase, but with the great teachers, admin staff, and students - we jumped right into becoming 'old friends' very quickly. Everyone at the school gave us the royal treatment. Teaching Artist Fatima Traore brought her fantastic "Meet-Cute" lesson plan to a class consisting of several grade levels, and the results were way above our expectations for a very first day.

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore explains the project at Arts & Civics

Although just in the pencil drafting stage, students' works were sharp, neat, and on target with Fatima's instructions. They were asked to develop a piece depicting animals (or other forms of living or imaginative creatures) who would normally not co-exist but in peaceful relationships. Some of the combinations of animals which were selected were extremely creative and well thought out.

Fatima opened a discussion about color choices and an environment which will be added to their works during a future lesson.

During a quick round of critique, Kimora expressed her enjoyment of the class and that she liked the overall concept of the lesson.

It was our pleasure to work together with the school's excellent art teacher, Miss M, and get to know these wonderful students. Principal Little stopped in to see how things were going - and everyone knows that we LOVE when the principal stops by!

We'll be at the school 2 days each week and are already talking about an exhibition. We feel very fortunate to partner with the East New York Arts and Civics High School.”

Fantastic MTA Arts for Transit at the Van Siclen station #3 train nearby


On Monday, at special request, ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom was able to learn the Flag Book technique Teaching Artist Golnar Adili presented in person a few weeks ago. At the last minute Golnar was unable to attend, so I taught in her place. As I mentioned to the assembled Advanced Studio Artists – it was not quite as far a stretch as the time I filled in teaching a yoga class in a gallery in Indianapolis (really.). Armed with instructions from Golnar, and my own experience from the in person session, I bumbled along as we made our books.

For the project one needs to assemble quite a bit of material including:

· paper - flexible but sturdy page which is folded to make the spine

· many printed papers such as drawings, maps, wrapping paper, recycled papers

· cover pages which should be heavier and can also be printed or have images

· glue or tape

· scissors or an Exacto knife and cutting board

· ruler

· pencil

· bone folder or something which can be used as a bone folder

We all kept ourselves visible and audible for the entire session, troubleshooting as we went. For example at one point when Delphine had a technical question I asked Marilyn to hold up her work to demonstrate.

Screen shot as Sarah shares her work

Delphine and I both used drawings from other projects for our books.

Delphine Levenson, Flag Book

Meridith McNeal, Flag Book

Abby used her new iPad to create drawings which she printed and used for her book. I am particularly taken with the elegant curves her lighter weight paper helped to manifest.

Abbrielle Johnson, Flag Book

Sarah, who zoomed in from SVA where she is working on her Master’s in Art Therapy, used magazines to create a fabulous multi layered collaged Flag Book.

Sarah Gumgumji, Flag Book

Sarah Gumgumji, Flag Book interior

Sarah Gumgumji, Flag Book exterior covers

Marilyn and Ed used printed material they had on hand. Marilyn a calendar with images of food which she particularly loved and Ed raided his business card collection!

Marilyn August, Flag Book exterior and interior

Ed Rath, Flag Book exterior and interior

Karla’s piece looks professional to me. Her collage skills, precision and design sense all play a part in the polish of her book!

Karla Prickett, Flag Book interior

When I sent images of the work to Golnar later that night she replied: “WOOOOWWWWWWW!!! Wow, you guys did such a great job in doing different flag books. I’ve taught many classes from elementary school to college students book making techniques, but ART YARD Artists exceed my expectations with such flair and ingenuity!”


On Tuesday for ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at BWAC Golnar was back in action with more paper folding and book making techniques! Phew.

Teaching Artist Golnar Adili in action

Teaching Artist Golnar Adili explains: “We made architectural cuts to make pop up forms. Nothing added and nothing taken away. The cuts were inspired by Paul Jackson’s book Cut and Fold Techniques for Pop-Up Designs.”

Golnar brought in some extra prints for us to use for the project. The Farsi text in gold and silver leaf on the print is the word Bogshsyand (To spread or to open) from a poem by Susan K. Hagen whose collection Shall We Dance? is inspired by the work of the thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi and the Persian poet and mystic, Hafiz.

Some of us made different iterations of the cutting methods including shapely profiles of Christmas trees, others varied cuts on one theme. There were even more figurative pop up structures made in the shape of pink panther in a car- go figure and we created a large sized tree cut out to leave as a holiday card for our friends at BWAC.


Other Art News

Currently traveling in Scotland, ART YARD Artist and Board Member Cecile Chong shares some of her favorite pieces at the Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh!

Cecile Chong, Photographs of favorite artworks and labels from the work on view at Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh, 2022.


ART YARD Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick invites us to join the Stitchcraft virtual embroidery circle on Wednesday, December 21st!

Iviva writes:Starting with a special Winter Solstice Stitchery on Wednesday, December 21, I will host free, monthly virtual embroidery circles to encourage a revival of traditional “women’s crafts” of embroidery and oral information networks. Across generations and centuries, women have conveyed life-saving information through discrete conversations while passing on handcraft traditions. Stitchcraft brings these traditions into the 21st century, using Zoom as a monthly meeting place.”

Iviva Olenick, Women birth whole communities so keep your laws off our uteruses, 2022, embroidery on fabric


Best of luck this weekend to ART YARD Artist Vera Tineo on their first semester critique as an MFA student at Queens College!!

Vera Tineo, Olvidate de Eso, Mama, 2022, pen on paper



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