Drawing and painting is a great wintertime hobby outside the typical hibernation routine, and NYC has a plethora of options. These three are my favorites for their attitude, and their relationship to the city and the art world.
The Art Students League of New York
Founded in 1875, the list of names who have floated through this school is long: Ai Weiwei, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko, Al Hirschfeld, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe and Maurice Sendack, to name a handful.
This is the perfect solution for those looking for a serious art class, taught by artists who’ve exhibited in the Met, MoMA, and overseas. Classes are offered in both full-time and part time capacities. A single Sunday afternoon class is around $90 for ~3.5 hours, materials not included. While beginners are welcome, this is a serious art school and you should plan to try at least a few weekend classes.
The Painting Lounge
It’s one thing to look at Starry Night and appreciate the full masterpiece, but it’s entirely another to decide to replicate it. To dissect brushstrokes, color choices, the feel of the canvas and thickness of the paint — that’s a new way to experience Starry Night. At the Painting Lounge, students sign up for a single class which helps them replicate the same famous pieces by Van Gogh, Warhol, Gercken, Picasso, Klimt and others.
This is the perfect class for those not looking for anything too serious. Materials are included and total costs range from $40 – $65 for 2-3 hours. The Brooklyn (Williamsburg) studio is still waiting on a liquor license, but the Manhattan (Union Square) studio is BYOB.
Artists who spend time at Spring Studio are fiercely loyal — partly because the studio is a New York institution! It’s been around since the ‘90s, exclusively offering model sessions at $18 each.
Minerva herself teaches life drawing classes on Saturdays and Thursdays at 9:30am, and others teach classes and workshops in portrait drawing, the long post, charcoal, newsprint, etc. on weekdays as well as weekends. Beginners are welcome, but you’ll see quite a few professionals using the studio outside of instruction hours. No reservations here!
The Plein Air Painting School
For those looking for an opportunity to paint outside, Danielle stops holding class in the wintertime but resumes again when the weather picks up. Sign up for her newsletter for details on spring classes.
P.S. A membership at the MoMA is only $85 a year, 100% tax deductible, and includes almost daily free film screenings.
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