I was recently asked by my therapist for some information about art classes in NYC on behalf of one of his patients (actually, both my therapists asked me for information on this topic in the same week. Is it any surprise that I see two therapists? I don’t think so, but I did think it was odd that they both asked the same question in the same week). His questions made me realize that it must be quite daunting to sort out all the options available to you if you want to try this whole art biz out.
So I culled together information from different lists that I make available to students of mine, and I printed it out and gave it to him. And then I looked at it and realized it was kind of an interesting list, so maybe I should put it up here as well in case anyone can find some use for it. Basically, this is a list of resources (primarily in NYC, but some on the web as well) that you can use if you want to give art a try, but maybe don’t want to commit to enrolling in art school yet. Or maybe you’re in art school and you want to suppliment what you’re learning there. Or maybe you just graduated and want to keep the ball rolling… you get my drift.
Of course, for classes – especially summer ones!! – check out classes I’m teaching here. All my summer courses are still open to enrollment and they’re not that expensive (the drawing class is $210, I think?).
Anyway. Here’s the list I made:
The Natural Way to Draw (by Kimon Nicolaides)
The Artist’s Handbook (by Ralph Mayer): These are probably the two most recommended instructional books for college students – and with good reason: They both provide straightforward, easy-to-follow, crystal clear advice on how to get started in painting and drawing. They are references that you will turn to again and again for many years to come. Both have been on the market for years and often show up in used bookstores.
Art & Fear (by David Bayles and Ted Orland): A wonderful resource to help you find your personal voice as an artist, to overcome blocks and become the kind of artist you want to be. This book isn’t instructional in the same way the two above are, but rather it gives the reader some excellent things to think about concerning how to set up their individual practice. A quote from the introduction: “Making art is a common and intimately human activity, filled with the perils (and rewards) that accompany any worthwhile effort. The difficulties artmakers face are not remote and heroic, but universal and familiar. … This book is about what it feels like to sit in your studio … trying to do the work you need to do.” Highly recommended.
Museum of Modern Art: There are recorded, guided tours you can pick up with the price of admission to the museum, lectures on a variety of historical and contemporary issues practically every week, and a variety of other programs meant to introduce you to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. For a listing of different options, go to: http://moma.org/education/adults.html. There are also loads of free podcasts you can download here which discuss current issues in the arts, art of the 20th century, the permanent collection, and so on.
Metropolitan Museum: The Met’s Timeline of Art History is possibly the best free resource on the web for taking you through the history of art from the very beginning. Their calendar of events lists all the lectures and workshops happening in the museum, some of which are free.
WPS1 art radio : WPS1.org has a list of archived podcasts of artists, critics, writers, historians, etc., talking about contemporary issues in the arts. The station also offers a variety of experimental music and radio programs. Downloading the programs is free. They are of varying quality depending on the personality of the host/guest on that given show and day, but definitely worth checking out.
Artists Talk on Art: On-going panel discussions about contemporary issues in art; almost always very accessible and understandable to the general public. Get on their mailing list to receive updates of the latest talks. Currently, it costs $7 to get into a discussion that lasts around two hours.
How Art Made the World (PBS documentary): If you really, truly don’t know where to begin in your study of art, this can be a provocative place to begin. It is especially good at introducing very early works of art (for instance, cave painting) to people who have never studied the subject before. The website is good; there is also a DVD/book set available.
Life drawing (drop-in classes in NYC)
Spring Street Studio (64 Spring Street, NYC): A studio with constant figure drawing classes – you can ask for instruction and help, or just be left alone to draw. Walk-in and beginners welcome. $14; classes are between three and four hours long.
Society of Illustrators (128 East 63rd Street; http://www.societyillustrators.org/): Jazz music and open figure drawing session (aka, no instruction, just models you can draw), every Tuesday from 6:30pm – 9:30pm for $15, or the third Thursday of every month from 7-10pm, $20.