A place to stop, create, and document

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Art Library website

Last week, Liz Robbins from the NY Times published an article describing the unique relationship the Brooklyn Art Library has fostered with local (and sometimes not to local) artists, dreamers, and creators.

For $25, any doodler, student, parent, graphic designer, architect (like Ms. Sumayang) or would-be artist with an idea can fill a 32-page sketchbook and add it to the collection. Some, like Ms. Sumayang, drop in; others sign up online. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ ” Ms. Sumayang said on a recent visit. “It’s down the road.”

For six years, the Sketchbook Project has been offering intimate glimpses into the imaginations of its worldwide contributors. Steven Peterman, a printmaker, and Shane Zucker, a Web developer, founded the project in Atlanta in 2006. They moved it to Brooklyn in 2009: first to Red Hook, then to Williamsburg in late 2010.

The space also houses shops for art supplies and vintage goods, but the library, opposite them, is the main attraction.

Its shelves now feature approximately 12,500 sketchbooks from more than 130 countries. An additional 7,502 sketchbooks, including Ms. Sumayang’s drawn memoir of her past, will join the permanent collection when they return from a 14-city tour, currently in Chicago and ending in Melbourne, Australia, in November.

Sketchbooks can provide artists and casual readers with glimpses into another artists inner thoughts, as well as serving as a chronology of evolving talent, techniques, and media. Many professional illustrators sell their mass-produced sketchbooks at events like Comic Conventions for those who wish to own a more intimate version of someone’s art. The Brooklyn Art Library takes this fascination and gives it a permanent home, ensuring that the items are given all the esteem that Library collections hold to our culture.

Visit! Contribute! Wouldn’t you love to be part of the Library experience?


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