2021 Excellence In Teaching Award Winners
Meridith McNeal co-founded ART YARD BKLYN in 2018 and serves as the organization's Executive Director. Meridith is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator, curator, arts administrator and Hula Hooper. Formerly, she was the Director of Education at Rush Arts, an creative catalyst in arts education for inner-city youth. Meridith also formerly served as Curator & Director of Education at Brooklyn Information & Culture, a creative catalyst based in Downtown Brooklyn whose work spans contemporary visual and performing arts, media, and civic action. She has also served as a professor at Pratt Institute, the Brooklyn Museum and P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art. Her curatorial practice includes over 90 exhibitions and advisory services to the Brooklyn Public Library, Kentler International Drawing Space and the Coney Island Museum.
Meridith’s work is represented by Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn, New York and in the Flat Files of Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY and Embrace Creatives, Detroit, MI. Meridith’s exhibition Graceful Confusion will be on view at Magazzino Gallery, Palazzo Polignac, Venice, Italy in 2022. A large exhibition of her work along with ART YARD BKLYN students is currently on view in The Way We See It at FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights Brooklyn. Her recent solo exhibitions include Portrait of My Mother at Kentler International Drawing Space in Brooklyn; Inside Outside Windowphilia, Figureworks, Brooklyn, NY; The View from Here at FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and In Reflection, Torre Truglia, Sperlonga, Italy. Currently on view is her site-specific exhibition French Windows in Port Chester, NY and More French Windows in Norwalk, CT. In 2017 Meridith represented Sperlonga Italy in the renown Fabriano Paper Festival.
Meridith was featured in A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine in HYPERALLERGIC February 19, 2021. In both 2020 and 2019 Meridith was recognized with Artists of the Year awards by the Circle Foundation for the Arts, Lyon, France. Her work received Juror’s Top Choice in Arizona Aqueous XXXV and Best of Show in Arizona Aqueous XXXIV, Tubac Center of the Arts, Tubac AZ; was cited for top merit in 2019 Contemporary Art Survey at Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, CO and she received the jury top merit award for her work included in Loss, Redemption and Grace, EBD4, Chamblee, GA. She is included in You Are Here/NYC: Mapping the Soul of the City (2016) and Map As Art (2009) by Katharine Harmon, Princeton Architectural Press. Meridith holds a BFA, MFA, and a New York State teaching certification.
Steff Reed is a Musician, Educator, and Activist. By sharing his story, Reed shows others that they are not alone. He is a Black Man that loves and gives greatly, modeling that emotional sensitivity and compassion can make us stronger as a community.
As a singer, songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist, Steff Reed is known to affect audiences with his spiritual, uplifting energy and song. He is unafraid to be vulnerable and open in his own story, sharing lessons of resilience, healing, self-betterment. Reed blends genres of folk rock, alternative rock, pop rock to culminate in inspirational, humanitarian messages.
Over the years, Reed has gained national acclaim as a producer and song-writer having worked with the likes of Trey Songz, Jhene Aiko, Eric Roberson, Swizz Beatz, Kenny Lattimore and Gordon Chambers on songs that made it to the Billboard Charts.
As an Educator, Reed has taught thousands of youth between the ages 4-24 over the last 15 years. In 2013, he was nominated for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award and taught a “Power of Love” workshop at NYU/Ed Sullivan Fellows.
Reed is currently building a Brooklyn-based non-profit, Power of Love, in partnership with Judson Memorial Church. His latest music project is of the same name. By using his social capital and influence, Reed is scaling his impact to empower wider audiences and impact real political change.
Steff is inspired by socially-conscious artists like John Lennon, Prince, Tracy Chapman, U2, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Jimi Hendrix.