Art Oasis: The Sketchbook Project

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday February 26, 2015

One of the questions I like best in the DART Artist Q&A is, “Where do you look for inspiration?” The answers are as lively and inspiring in themselves as the artists being asked. More about that later, because last weekend I found a place that would work for me every time.

The Brooklyn Library, in Williamsburg, is home to The Sketchbook Project—a crowd sourced mail art program started in 2006, in Atlanta, by Steven Peterman, a printmaker, and Shane Zucker, a Web developer. In 2009 they moved it to Brooklyn, first to Red Hook, then, in 2010, to its present location. They call it “The world’s largest collection of sketchbooks.” 

This homey yet cavernous retreat houses 32,046 sketchbooks from 135+ countries, with an additional 4,500 poised to hit the road in the annual world sketchbook tour in the spring. People of all stripe, from professional artists to school kids and grandmothers are invited to participate. When you sign up for $25, you will be mailed a 32-page bespoke sketchbook to fill and return to the library. For $60, you will receive the sketchbook and your pages will be digitized for online access.

When you visit the library, you can open an account and call up 2 sketchbooks at a time online, following thematic tags. Or you can sit at the long library table and look through a selection of 8 or 10 sketchbooks chosen from the week’s receipts by the staff for being awesome. I browsed and searched randomly and felt renewed and uplifted in ways that can only be brought about by art. While I was at the table, snow began to quietly drift down, creating an urban winter wonderland.

The Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Art Library, 103A North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY. Open every day from 11 am to 7 pm. Above, a sketchbook by Sarah Pratt, from Capetown, South Africa. Photos: Peggy Roalf.

The 2015 Sketchbook Project Postmark Deadline is March 31, 2015. Information.
The 2015 Tour stops are: Brooklyn, Chicago, Toronto, Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle. Information.
The Sketchbook Project World Tour -- the book, from Princeton Architectural Press, with hundreds of sketchbook projects from around the world, will be available in May, but advance orders can be placed here.
Visit the DART Artist Q&A here.
If you like this page and want to subscribe to DART, go here.
If you would like to join Urban Sketchers, go here.

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday February 25, 2015

By Peggy Roalf   Tuesday February 24, 2015

By Peggy Roalf   Monday February 23, 2015

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