The Sketchbook Project at the Hillyer Art Space

by Mary Cameron

The Hillyer Art Space, located in Dupont Circle, recently hosted the Sketchbook Project.  Founded and managed by the Art House Co-op, the Sketchbook Project is truly an innovative idea.  The Art House Co-op was created  in 2006 by Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker.  The Co-op sends sketchbooks to anyone who requests them.  Artists can then fill the sketchbooks however they choose.  The sketchbooks are permanently archived in the Brooklyn Art Library, where visitors can come and peruse the collections.  The sketchbooks are also taken on tour across the country.  One of the stops on the 2011 tour was the Hillyer Art Space.  First year M.A. student Nichole Rawlings and I visited the exhibit for ourselves this past Saturday.  When we entered the gallery we were given a “library card” with a bar code on the back.  We then took the library code up to the check-out table, where we could request sketchbooks by theme or artist.  As I was unfamiliar with the artists, I requested sketchbooks by the themes, such as “the view from up here”, and “happy”.  Second year M.A. student Samantha May, who works at the Hillyer, helped check out the sketchbook to visitors.  Here she is checking out books-

Both Nichole and I were truly impressed by the range of creativity present in the sketchbooks.  Some of our favorites included a sketchbook filled with embroidered portraits, another with paper cutouts, and one that told the story of a firefly circus.  Having the opportunity to personally handle art was truly an amazing experience, one that the traditional museum or gallery does not offer.     Check out the Sketchbook Project website-

You can see some of the amazing sketchbooks below.

Nichole showing off a sketchbook

As you can see, this was a great experience.  Definitely check it out if it comes near you!

One thought on “The Sketchbook Project at the Hillyer Art Space

  1. great to see that AU was checking out this cool show. This is the third year in which I’ve participated in the sketchbook project. I love the anything goes aspect of what these guys are doing. Some terrific work ends up in these projects. (oh, my AU connection: MFA in painting class of 2005).

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