Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook project expands

Visitors browse the collection of sketchbooks at the Brooklyn Art Library, Courtesy of Brooklyn Art Library

The Brooklyn Art Library, home to an innovative project in which artists—from novices to professionals—submit their sketchbooks, is on the move. The library, which has tens of thousands of sketchbooks on its shelves, is entering its second decade with plans to transition from a small local business into a non-profit institution that can work with organisations to set up satellite libraries around the country.

The Sketchbook Project, which has now collected more than 45,000 sketchbooks, was started by the artist Steven Peterman in Atlanta, Georgia in 2006. Three years later, he moved it to New York and soon found it a semi-permanent home in the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg. Peterman says that on some level, he and the other organisers knew that a version of a non-profit would be the end result for the library, which in addition to hosting programmes and tours of the sketchbook collection, rents out its space for events. “We are still a successful small business doing good for the community,” says Peterman. “And we basically run like a non-profit. So the thought was: Why dont we just keep doing what were doing, but just change our format?”

The librarys Bookmobile Courtesy of Brooklyn Art Library

By February 2020, the library plans to make this transition to a non-profit official. This will allow it to focus on new initiatives such as setting up satellite libraries. “The idea is that a community organiser could come and say I want to open up an art library in Philadelphia,” Peterman says. “Theyd apply, get accepted as an organiser, and then we help them find a location, set up the space, and theyll be able to get free books through us as well as the local community.”

People take part in the Sketchbook Project by paying to have a blank book sent to them, into which they divulge whatever part of their lives or imagination they want. The variety of completed sketchbooks is testimony to the breadth of creative endeavour. For example, one sketchbook has a spine that was removed entirely and rebound using strips of leather. Inside, kaleidoscopic designs cover the pages. Another has been fitted with a lock on the outside, the key to it nestled in a slit cut in the back cover. In another, a person remembers their father, an architect, who designed buildings in Egypt. They took transparent blueprints of his building designs and overlaid them on pages of writing in the sketchbook.

The project stemmed out of this idea of the beauty of the entire collection

The library catalogues, houses, and digitises the sketchbooks (a selection can be viewed online), and it is free for anyone to browse the collection. According to the organisers, it is the largest collectioRead More – Source