Category Archives: painting

Measuring Up

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The Art Galleries at Syracuse University are designed to facilitate education.  In other words, it’s a teaching museum.  Professors require students to go to there – to critique the art/learn how to judge a work of art.  Students journal about experiences for classes, attend the receptions and lectures, and even work there (which has to be the greatest work-study gig).

Last year, former Director Domenic Iocono mentioned it was the reason artists like Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith wanted to collaborate by sharing their work with our community, enhancing the walls of the spaces with their respective visions.

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In this season’s first exhibition, Not a Metric Matters, the university galleries led by new Director and Chief Curator Vanja Malloy, Ph.D. hosts its own – the School of Visual & Performing Arts faculty.  It is an opportunity to showcase their talent, yes, and also turn the tables on the critiquing process allowing the professors to show students how it’s really done.

Margie Hughto has been affiliated with the university for many, many years.  When I spoke to her last month, she said teaching is still fun and so, she will continue to share her expertise with students for many years to come.

Her ceramic and found object work is exquisite.  It is perfection in editing – selecting just the right found object pieces to coordinate with the ceramic pieces.  The work alludes to the recent discarded and forgotten in terms of technology.

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The thought provoking concepts aside, Hughto’s artwork screams of her strength of character.  She finds beauty in every angle, in each piece fused as one.  They are signatures of her style while continuing to surprise and delight us, continuing a growth trajectory as an artist and that in itself is the lesson.

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Holly Greenberg has isolated grief in this productive series of drawings.  These pieces resonated with me – as you know my father recently passed away and his belongings are still in the closets, his car in the driveway at Mom’s house.  Using these ordinary objects as memento gives them a lovingly somber power and isolating them in their compositions drives the message home.

It is curious how objects can retain the emotion of the spirit and Greenberg’s proficiency in rendering provides the elevation of their status.

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Ann Clarke‘s fiber artwork is marvelously original.  Texture is my thing and seeing monumental work on the walls creates a bold statement about time.  The fabrics are traditional, but the techniques are fresh and alive.  The hooked rug eye is really incredible in-person.  I love the idea of taking a method we all used in the past and formulating this new pattern, which seems to denote to me that someone is watching over me, loving me.

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Clarke’s statement does imply that she is the watchful eye for her ailing mother and that is a beautiful thing.  That the old becomes new again, and time is cyclical.

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Other teaching artists in this show –

Yasser Aggour, Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, Don Carr, Deborah Dohne, Heath Hanlin, Seyeon Lee, Sarah McCoubrey, Su Hyun Nam, Vasilios Papajoannu, James Ransome, Tom Sherman and Chris Wildrick

Their work takes dimension as paintings, drawings, photo-collage, video and installation – and all have something important to say within the context of their visualizations.

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There are more exhibits in the space, all curated by different people.  DJ Hellerman is the curator of this show.  He is the Art and Program Curator at the Everson Museum of Art and collaborates with SU’s Department of Transmedia.  I met him while stumbling into a critique of university students’ final exhibitions at Apostrophe’s.

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David Prince curated the display of former VPA faculty members.  As you know, I am an SU grad (B.F.A. ’85, M.S. ’93).  These professors are my people.  I absolutely loved Rodger Mack.  He was so devoted to building the sculpture department and his bronze sculptures are THE BEST!

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Seeing his hands portrayed by Jerome Witkin brought a tear to my eye.  There is so much love here, people.  Going to Syracuse University was a dream come true for me – I feel incredibly blessed to have been the first person in my family to ever go to a university –  and to see the professors being honored is such a gift.  They deserve every accolade.

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They were and are true working artists, not just people showing up to collect a paycheck.

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There’s lots more to see of these exhibits and the vast permanent collections.  It will all be on display until November 24, 2019.  There will be an art reception on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5 – 7 pm.  And Holly Greenberg will be giving a presentation in the adjacent Shemin Auditorium on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

Syracuse University Art Galleries is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syracuse University campus.  Free parking is available on Sundays and on Thursday evenings in the Q lot – or at least it was when I was there yesterday.  Call (315) 443-4097 for more information including hours of operation.  ❤

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Appleseeding

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The former Johnny Appleseed’s furniture store (3402 Old State Road, Erieville, New York, 13061) is now The Shoppes at Johnny Appleseeds.  The brainchild of Erica Gilmore and her husband Patrick, it is an over fifty vendor facility, with artisans setting up individual shopping experiences creating little vignettes throughout this amazing space.

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It is a still-life lover’s dream.  Charming folkloric visual merchandising at every turn.  The vendors are not there hawking their wares.  You are left to enjoy the process of discovery.  Vintage clothing, handbags, jewelry, greeting cards, home decor including furniture and housewares, candles, art (Wendy Harris is there!) and even bird houses.

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shop owner Erica J. Gilmore

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***from the web-site

The Shoppes at Johnny Appleseed reopened in the spring of 2017 as a retail space for crafters and artisans alike. We are excited to offer such a unique venue and are always looking for talented people to continue to grow with us as we build a future at this historic Central New York location. 

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There is a restaurant as well, the Apple Kitchen, and they serve apple crisp! ❤

Store Hours:
Wednesday-Saturday, 10-5   Sunday 11-5 
Apple Kitchen Hours:
Saturday, 11-4 pm
Sunday, 11-4 pm

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They have various sales and events – pet adoptions on weekends via a liaison with Wanderer’s Rest and more!  You can stay informed by linking to their Facebook page. ❤

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Current list of vendors – 

The Apple Kitchen • Alexandra’s Attic •  The Heckled Hen Antiques • Decorative Edge • 13 South Metal Signs • Wendy Harris Fine Art  

• Hidden Hearts Honey • The Nook • Kaylie Beth’s Boutique

 Patrick Gilmore Furniture Designs • The Crazy Chair Lady

 Bayside Wood Products • Mary Gosden Studio

Carter’s Pond Jewelry • The Wire Chick Jewelry • Hop Scotch Farms

Bird on A Wire • Gideon’s Gallery • Final Harvest Woodturning

Kate’s Place Polish Pottery • West Hill Woodworks

Beyond The Twig Fence • Clay In Motion Pottery

 Iron Art Glass Works • Balsam Rose Soap Company  • Russel’s Books Johanna Wall Jewelry • Mames Place, Vintage Jewelry

Primitive Beginnings • Branchwood Cottage Antiques • Glassy Crafts 

 Elfriede Dietrich Designs • The Nantucket Cat • Past Times Treasures

Flowers off Main • Wrapped Up Beads • A&K Furniture Designs

Songbird Sewing Company • Classy Glass • The Lucky Lab

Marcia’s Country Cupboard  •  Richard Stricker Birdhouses

Amondale Farms • Dappled Blue • Old and Everlasting Greeting Cards Rustic Willow Furnishings • Random Acts of Craft, Mirrors

Blooms and Blossoms • The Tulip and the Toad • Brenda’s She Shed

Orchard Ridge Wines • Jenna Paulsen Fine Artist • Mila Group Prints

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There is rental space available!  Contact johnnyshoppes@yahoo.com for the deets.

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#ootd #selfie Marc Jacobs sunglasses, BCBGMaxAzria top and shorts, Nine West booties, Coach crossbody

Cool August Moonies

 

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Tonight was the opening reception for the summer art exhibition at The Syracuse Tech Garden gallery (235 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202).  It is titled Cool August Moon. I saw my high school friend and fellow art teacher Audrey Levinson there!

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Artist Steve Nyland (another Jamesville-DeWitt alum) is the curator and a participant in the show.  He told me that he signed a new contract to continue with these exhibitions for at least another year.  They take place in the lobby of this building, which is across the street from the Syracuse Marriott (Hotel Syracuse).

Other local artists contributing to this show –

Laura Audrey
Terry Lynn Cameron
Richell Castellon
Fletcher Crangle
Kathy Donovan
Ryan Foster
Larry Hoyt
Lisa Ketcham
James P. McCampbell
Sally Stormon
Rabekah Tanner
Mitzie Testani
Ray Trudell
Kayla Cady Vaughn
Ryan Wood

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Massachusetts transplant Lisa Ketcham creates these kitschy assemblages and frames.  They are sort of a cross between steampunk and macabre via the use of gears, timey-wimey-ies and skeletons.

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Terry-Lynn Cameron brought her originals to share.  I met her on Sunday at City Market where she was selling prints of these lovely acrylic paintings.

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Richell Castellon Ferreira is the real deal – a painter and woodworker by trade.  He comes to us from Cuba.  His paintings of the Syracuse landscape would make perfect additions to any local collector’s art stash!  He paints from photographs and from memory.  These originals are only $175.

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Ray Trudell focuses on the invisible in his black and white photographs taken of the surrounding area.  He “slows time” by defining a glimpse of a moment using sharp contrast in his compositions.

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The exhibit will be on display until September 20, 2019.  For more information contact Steve Nyland at gallery.ttg@gmail.com.  To purchase artwork, contact the artists directly.  They have left business cards and also have contact information on their respective art tags.

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City Market

 

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When I met Jason Alexander, I did that goofy Cinderella’s step-sister thing and asked him how he liked our Syracuse, New York weather.

He replied, “It sucks!”  This was after a performance of the play he’d directed at Syracuse Stage.  My friend and I looked at each other in an are-you-kidding-me glance because we both love it here, both love to hike whether in rain, snow, sleet or hail.  And our weather had been particularly great in June.

So funny – and that is why I don’t have a selfie with the Seinfeld alum.

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Today’s weather is sheer perfection – a magnificent sunny and breezy day to explore the offerings at City Market.  Sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202), the market is housed on the museum grounds around the fountains.

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It takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 10 am – 4 pm.  There are two dates left before the season ends – Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.

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There is a lot to peruse – jewelry, trinkets, clothing, food, furniture and flea market-y miscellaneousness.  And art, of course.

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Ken Nichols is there selling the mugs and rice bowls created in his studio at Clayscapes Pottery.

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Tyler Cagwin created Nostalgia Chocolate.  He manufactures the product here in Syracuse with international cocoa beans.  The flavors are rich and satisfying!  Gourmet chocolate with health benefits! (That’s a win-win).

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I loved these ceramic pins and magnets created by Beckie Bortel of Beckie’s Pottery.  They have a substantial feel to them and they look like ginger snap cookies.  Great patina!

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Terry Lynn Cameron is selling originals and prints of her colorful paintings. The prints are done on canvas, which is very cool.  I am really impressed with how she markets her product!  Some of the art has been adhered to sketchbooks and daily planners.  Love!

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Lori Lizzio‘s work can be found as originals, prints and notecards.  They are ink and wash pieces of animals and figures.

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Syracuse does have beautiful weather, Jason Alexander, and beautiful people – and art.  It is satisfying and fun.  Really fun.  It doesn’t suck. ❤

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Cruz-ing

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The retrospective currently on exhibition in two of the upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) was fifty years in the making.  Puerto Rican born Juan Cruz has spent the past forty years dwelling here in Syracuse, New York, making murals, teaching and working on a collegiate degree in Fine Art from Syracuse University.  And painting – he has been creating the mother-lode of paintings.

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This show exemplifies what I have always wanted the Everson to be – a museum that believes in local artists, supporting their careers and offering ample space to breathe love and life into a body of work that illustrates the strength, character and beauty of an artist’s life-long vision.

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There are paintings that show Cruz’s proficiency with realism – watercolor landscapes and oil on paper portraits.  These pieces are the yellow bricks of the journey.  They offer the first dance on a path that takes a left hand cruise into abstraction.

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Those abstracts even go 3-D via a few sculptures as well, but the artist’s main strength is in the confident energy of the gnarled face forms peering out of these canvases, evidently pleading to be understood.

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This energy alludes to social injustices felt both personally and as a member of a Caribbean culture with economic drama.  There is abundant repetition of shape and color interspersed with black outlines, as well as bright white.  This co-mingling rhythm creates a cartoon-like flavor undermining the angst, which gets more pronounced in the newer pieces, suggesting a shift to a more positive perspective for this working artist.

I would imagine pure full-on non-representational abstraction is the goal, obliterating the need to be understood by the masses, because when the goal is freedom of expression, the limitation of pleasing others gives way to one’s own knowing.  Knowing the rightness of choices made with deliberate intent.

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It’s all about the journey, and this one is an enormously satisfying one.  I am delighted that I was able to witness this body of work as it is displayed.   And for Juan Cruz, the best is yet to come.  Because the dance is by no means over – it has just begun. ❤

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Juan Cruz:  A Retrospective concludes on August 4, 2019.  (Up next – Yoko Ono!)

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****From the Everson website

Syracuse-based artist Juan Alberto Cruz (b. 1941, Puerto Rico) combines rich symbolism with a bold and colorful abstract style to create work infused with his Caribbean heritage. Moving from Puerto Rico to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and subsequent travels to Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and Central America have had a major impact on Cruz’s work, which reflects a mixture of his cultural heritage and life experiences. From his earliest portrait paintings to recent abstract collages, Cruz uses the emotional realities of his past to articulate his feelings about economic inequality and systematic injustice.

As a child, Cruz taught himself to draw by copying the comic strips from discarded newspapers onto brown paper grocery bags, and later he drew portraits of everyday people that he sold for pocket change on the street. It was not until his thirties, when he enrolled in an art program led by then-Everson Director Jim Harithas that Cruz learned art could be more than replicating the world around him. Harithas taught Cruz how to paint and introduced him to a world of modern artists, which led Cruz’s drawings and paintings to evolve into a complex amalgamation of figurative and abstract forms. For the past five decades, Cruz’s boundless creativity and production has led him to compile a massive body of work. 

Since moving to Syracuse in 1975, Cruz has made a significant impact on the local community. He has painted numerous murals throughout the city, including on the Onondaga Commons building, in Skiddy Park, and several in the Near West Side. He also completed a new mural with the Everson Teen Arts Council currently on view on the Museum’s Lower Level. Cruz served as artist-in-residence for the Near West Side Initiative for five years and ran the Patch-Up Studio, a community center that provided children and adults with a safe space to make and learn about art. By choosing to live and work in Syracuse, Cruz has brought together a multigenerational community inspired by his public art initiatives and workshops.

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EVERSON MUSEUM OF ART HOURS:

SUNDAY 12-5
MONDAY CLOSED
TUESDAY CLOSED
WEDNESDAY 12-5
THURSDAY 12-8
FRIDAY 12-5
FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH NOON–8:00PM
SATURDAY 10-5

Call (315) 474-6064 for more information.

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Scientific Whimsy

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Donna Atwood of Moravia, New York, is a former Science teacher turned full-time professional watercolor artist.  Intuition is her guide.

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She applies the watercolors (usually one hue per piece as a starting point) onto a variety of papers. Then she plays with abstractions and visual textures, adding found and household objects – plastic bags, rags, torn window screens – and weights to hold everything down until the next morning.  When she removes the objects, she assesses what she has and begins to deliberate.  She asks her husband what he sees, like a fun Rorschach test game and they laugh at the disparity of their visions.

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Ultimately, she makes her own decisions about what she sees, as though the paper truly speaks to her alone.  I delighted in her enthusiasm, positivity and passion as she spoke of this process when I met her at the First Friday event last night at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, New York, where she is the featured artist this month.

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Once Donna decides on the spirit animal, she goes to work rendering the composition focusing on the eyes.  Tiny details are emphasized, allowing for the animal to disappear into the colorations.  These are paintings that need to be seen in person.  The photographs do not do them justice.  They truly imbibe the artist’s joyful spirit.

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Donna Atwood originals and prints are available for sale at Gallery 54 (54 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles, New York 13152).  If you would like to meet her too, perhaps ask her further questions about her process, Donna will be doing a demonstration at the gallery today (1:00-3:00 pm).  ❤

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  • Excerpt from the gallery web-site

Even though Atwood was a science education major in college her interest in creating art, which began as a child, continued to flourish. It wasn’t until 2012 that she started practicing watercolor, she says describing her artwork as abstract impression. While she creates her share of surreal landscapes her preference, as the Gallery 54 show will demonstrate is for paintings of animals.

“I decided to create surreal animals and found many different ones lurking in patterns,” she notes. As she describes her work, the backgrounds start out as abstract colors and shapes, but “by manipulating shapes in to eyes, ears and a noses,” she can get the viewer to see” what she sees . . . “the face and body of a creature.”

Atwood is particularly fond of finding animals that are endangered or under represented in artwork generally. Many people, she notes, relate to specific creatures or what she calls “spirit animals.” She likes that viewers of her paintings relate to her whimsical version of “their animal” and that the colors or faces in her paintings make them smile.

“Keeping the background of a painting as untouched as possible allows the animal to grow from it,” she says, adding, “I want to express the presence of the animal, not highlight every hair or whisker.”

Atwood’s work has received awards at the New York State Fair and well as numerous local art exhibits. A resident of Sempronius, NY she has had artwork shown at the Cortland Public Library, the Dryden Community Cafe and the Gilded Lily gallery in Connecticut. Following her show at Gallery 54 she will have an exhibit at the Cortland Guthrie Hospital, from September through November and currently has work displayed at the Tully Artworks Gallery.

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Gallery 54 July Hours
Monday – Wednesday: 10-5
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 10-8
Sunday: 10-5

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The Gourmet

A trip to Vince’s Gourmet Imports (440 N. Main Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212) inspired my new still life painting project.  The Studio in Art students completed the course with these epic 16″ x 20″ acrylic paintings.

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I have paired them here with their inspiration photograph.  Students selected the picture then began with the contour line drawing.  These were transferred to canvas with the magical help of graphite paper, placed onto gessoed and burnt sienna-stained canvas panels.

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My main educational tip – begin with white in your mixing tray.  Add raw sienna and whatever main color to the mix (blue, yellow, etc).  This will insure that you don’t make too much of a color by starting too dark and adding crap-loads of white, lol.  The other thing to keep in mind is to not homogenize the mixture so that you can utilize dark and light variations of the color while painting with one brush.

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I am an advocate for students developing and maintaining their own styles as artists.  We looked at the work of Alice Neel and Janet Fish.  Some students went with the black outlines à la Neel.  And Fish’s representation of glass was helpful to their decision making.

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They took the paintings home today, but their images are on display in the counseling offices and will remain there throughout the summer months. I made 8″ x 10″ color copies of the paintings, mounted them to black construction paper and placed them in frames.  I love this new gallery space!

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I feel incredibly blessed to have shared this artistic adventure with these very talented fourteen-year-olds.  Studio in Art is an accelerated high school level class that I teach to 8th graders at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.

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