While the New York Times may not be my preferred source for community arts fodder, I am so grateful for this recent article on a totally awesome project in Brooklyn (that I can’t believe I didn’t know about!).
The Brooklyn Art Library houses the ongoing Sketchbook Project, an endeavor that has amassed some 12,500 sketchbooks made by people from more than 130 countries.
The Sketchbook Project is hyper community oriented – it’s amazing and I want everyone reading this to consider participating. Basically, it’s an effort to create a traveling library of artists’ books. Anyone can participate. ANYONE. The Brooklyn Art Library’s shelves are lined with the sketchbooks of past participants, which are available to the public for checkout. How does it work? You pay $25, they send you a sketchbook, you populate it with drawings (there are very few guidelines, but they’ve made it very clear that NO glitter should be involved), send it back, and it becomes part of the traveling library and is retired to the Brooklyn Art Library’s shelves at the end of the exhibition. And, if you’re interested, they will digitize your book so that anyone who couldn’t make it to the show or the library can view it online. What’s in these sketchbooks? Life stories, collages, travelogues, doodles, architecture, self-portraits, cartoons, pop-ups . . . anything! Think no one cares what a sketchbook full of someone’s random pictures contains? WRONG! In Portland alone they issued 500 library cards in 12 hours, checking out more than 2,600 sketchbooks total. This thing is big.
Although it’s extremely difficult, I’m restraining myself from posting about all the other creative and participatory projects the Art House Co-op is spinning right now – so you must visit them yourself, either online, or better yet, in person.