Yale Center for British Art and Chapel Haven Create Public Art and Raise Autism Awareness

Blue birdhourse handing in tree in front of brick building

The Yale Center for British Art and Chapel Haven, a residential school and independent living facility for people with cognitive and social disabilities, hosted a program on Feb. 20 to build a public sculpture and raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders.

Exploring Artism participants helped to create an environmentally inviting bird sanctuary and site-specific sculpture at Chapel Haven, located at 1040 Whalley Ave. in New Haven. For more information, please click here and here.

two children kneeling and painting half pipes.
Exploring Artism participants prepping elements for the outdoor bird sanctuary.

Life-Size Game Board!

On Saturday, Nov. 19, families joined YCBA Education staff at Chapel Haven for 2015’s final Exploring Artism. The program begins again in February 2016.


There are many varieties of board games and participants made their own board game life-size. First, they named games that each had played before and together they created a new game with their very own rules, pieces, and u-shaped game board spanning the floor.

Picture of two drawings on square cardboard.
Drawing ideas for game pieces.

Together, participants designed the layout and rules for “their game.” It was difficult to stop playing at the end of the session because everyone was having so much fun.

The game in play.
The game in play.

The Yale Center for British Art and Chapel Haven wish everyone a happy new year. We can’t wait to get together again for Exploring Artism on Feb. 20, 2016 at Chapel Haven.

Louise Bourgeois Loved Spiders


This week Exploring Artism participants looked at the sculpture of French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois. In the late 1990s, Bourgeois began using the spider as a central image in her art. We talked about how the artist thought about her mother as similar to a spider because she nurtured and protected her children as well as worked as a weaver in the family’s tapestry repair business.

Bourgeois’ largest spider sculpture stands at over 30 feet and was named for her mother, Maman.  Maman has been installed around the world for many people experience. Together we looked at Bourgeois’ sculptures, drawings, and prints to find inspiration for creating our own spider sculptures.


Undergraduate members of SAAY – Students for Autism Awareness at Yale joined the fun and helped everyone make their spider sculptures.


Everyone made a lot of decisions about their spiders and all hands helped with the art-making process. After finishing their spider, participants researched the artist and her work to help decide on a name for their sculpture.


We ended with a spider procession and one participant brought it to our attention that “Maman would be super cool to see on Halloween.”



Trees à la Gustav Klimt

Participants sitting around a table.
Intro to the first Exploring Artism of the fall.

Sept. 19 welcomed family and friends back to Chapel Haven for the YCBA’s Exploring Artism program. The topic of this month’s lesson was Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt and his trees.

Boy standing and looking at Klimt painting of tree.
Participants looking at a painting of a tree made by Klimt.

Participants looked closely at a few different trees painted by Klimt then used the iPad app PlayART (for purchase here). Each participant was able to create their own digital Klimt “painting.”

Boy and mom using ipad while docent watches.
Using the PlayArt app on the ipad.

After composing Klimt compositions on the ipad, participants looked to their handout to inspire their own large, gold tree paintings.

Kids use foam brushes to paint gold trees.
Participants begin painting their trees.

After painting the tree trunk and branches, participants bedazzled their trees with gems, sequins, and foil shapes for their very own Klimt-inspired tree.

Girls share shapes to glue to their tree compositoin.
Girls sharing additions to bedazzle their tree.

Fun was had by all and we look forward to our next meeting on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Autism Awareness Day at the CT Open

Woman sitting at table with YCBA banner.
Berclee, Head Docent at the YCBA, passing out information at the Center’s table.

The Connecticut Open tennis tournament held its first ever Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, August 26. The YCBA’s Education department was there to promote Exploring Artism: A Program for Families with a child ages 5-12 with ASD. The Center joined Chapel Haven, Autism Speaks, The Yale Child Study Center and Autism Services & Resources Connecticut (ASRC) in providing information about autism awareness

It’s Time to Head Back to School

Child inks printmaking plate with primary colors with the help of volunteers
Volunteers help participants ink their plates.

Autism Speaks shares tips for transitioning from summer to school, especially for families of individuals with ASD. To help east the stress of the transition, they provide a list of tips and resources for all involved: students, families, teachers, and peers. Please read more here.

Also, Sept. 19 is the first Exploring Artism of the fall at Chapel Haven. Please remember to register. artism-fall2015


All the Buildings… we made… so far…

Children sit around a table with cardboard shapes and paper
Children working with shapes found in buildings.

June’s Exploring Artism participants created their own buildings from assorted shapes along with making and printing their own collagraphs. Inspired by outlines and shapes of buildings drawn by James Gulliver Hancock on his website and in his book, All the Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far, participants created their own buildings using cardboard, foam pieces, paper, and black or white ink.

Children gluing pieces to paper to make a collagraph plate.
Designing their building collagraph plate with shapes.

After designing their own building, participants glued down the pieces then inked and printed their collograph plates. Click Here for a fun tutorial about collagraphy shared by I. K. Tolbert on youtube.

Inking their collagraph plates
Inking their collagraph plates

After rolling ink over the entire collagraph plate, participants carefully printed their work. Some decided that their collagraph plate in itself was the finished work of art.

Child stamping ink onto his collagraph plate before printing.
Adding to his collagraph plate.

Fun was had by all as we created our own unique city. A giant THANK YOU goes out to our program volunteers, as well as Tina Menchetti and Chapel Haven for hosting our program.


Andy Warhol Portrait Prints


The May Exploring Artism Program at Chapel Haven looked at portrait prints by Andy Warhol for inspiration. Families warmed up discussing facial features and drawing their own faces on paper. Next we enjoyed looking at a presentation of Warhol’s works, focusing on changes he made in the colors.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words:

Inking the plate
Inking the plate
Printing the plate
Printing the plate
The finished pieces drying.
The finished portrait prints drying.