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Brooklyn-Style Sketchbooks at the Brooklyn Art Library

The Brooklyn Art Library holds an annual Sketchbook Project where budding artists from around the world submit their art. Participants select a proscribed theme, buy a Moleskine, fill it with art, and send it back to the library. Each year the current Sketchbook Project travels from city to city and then returns to Brooklyn where the books are shelved.

The Brooklyn Art Library is in the hip, funky Brooklyn enclave of Williamsburg, an area where craft whiskeys abound and repurposed old records exist as bowls. (Full disclosure: I only lasted two hours in Williamsburg. It was hot, my pants were too long, face too clean-shaven, head fedora-less. I felt like how a parent must feel while at Abercrombie & Fitch. I quickly retreated to the more forty-something comfortable confines of Manhattan.) The space is clean, chilled, well-lighted, industrial, and neatly organized. There is a large library card card catalogue that draws oohs and aahs from those of us who are old enough to have researched with index cards; those who are younger might wonder why there is an apothecary cabinet in a library.

To check out a book you apply for a library card (10 seconds at a computer) and then select a book based on themes, location, artist name (on a computer, not using the card catalogue). A friendly librarian brings you the book you selected and then an additional random one. Then you can sit back and admire the exceptionally creative works of talented people all around the world.

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