Back to the Blocks

teacher with a studentSince its founding in 2000, The Laura Adasko Lenzner Fund in Celebration of Children and Art has sponsored annual outstanding artist residencies at Bank Street. Laura Adasko Lenzner was a passionate artist and a dedicated parent at the School for Children. Laura Adasko was born in Brooklyn and educated at the Art Students League in Manhattan and Mills College in Oakland, Calif. She began her career working in batik. With her business partner, Alice Huberman, she created colorful fabrics in the early 1970’s. She later created an enormous body of work in pastels, and her work has been shown at the Blue Mountain Gallery in SoHo, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

This year, the artist-in residence is Liora Mondlak, a visual artist and poet, who combines images and words to tell stories. She shares with us her experience: “I am drawn to what is our shared humanity, our similarities, what connects us to each other, as individuals and as communities. Collage, as a language for creating, mirrors my inner and outer worlds, with all the accompanying layers, complexity, and surprise. I use the varied elements and materials of collage to create bridges of conversation, to open the path for metaphor, to look closely in order to see the big picture. What I find there, as in life, is the alchemy of the planned and the unexpected, the unknown”. Her work on display in the Bank Street Lobby shows her own journey and discoveries.

“Back to the Blocks,” Liora’s workshop with the sixth graders, is a three dimensional collage experience, using approximately five wood blocks, akin to those played with in early childhood classes. Each student carefully collaged their story with personal images and words onto all six sides of different sized blocks. Once finished, they explored seeing them in a variety of arrangements; miniature installation art that is inter-active. All this happened in just two 1 1/2 hour sessions!

Also part of this residency is the beloved faculty workshop, where the entire staff gather to explore a new art medium, led by the visiting artist. At this one hour art “retreat”, Liora took everybody on the journey of expressing something about themselves that they wanted people to know, by creating a miniature, accordion book that fits into a matchbox.

To see more of Liora’s work, visit lioramondlak.com.