Above: Derwent Graphitint sketch on smooth paper in a Great Canadian Sketchbook, 11 x 14 inches. (Note Graphitints are not lightfast. I currently only use them for quick sketches such as life-drawing.) Click on the image to view an enlargement. Read more about this sketch where it appears in the journal selection gallery at Rozworks.com.
This post was last updated on December 4, 2013. The listings will be updated as new information is received. Email or call a group before attending to verify times, location, cost, etc.—all of which are subject to change. If you run a public group please email listing information to email@example.com
Many of the entries on the following list of drawing co-ops came to me from Laura Schmieg. I have been updating it since 2009. I've made it into a page so that it will be easy for visitors to the blog to locate. Things change. If you discover a group has evaporated, relocated, or otherwise morphed; or attend a public group not on this list; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that I can update the list.
I used to be a regular attendee at Florence Hill's Co-op and it is a wonderful experience. (I recommend that you arrive early to select a seating location as this is a very well-attended co-op.) Over time I found the Sunday afternoon didn't work for me on a regular basis so I shifted into a private co-op recommended by my computer guy.
Why go to life drawing? Every artist has his own reasons. I go because it forces me to focus on the human face and form when I would much rather be off at the zoo or nearest chicken coop. Peter Steinhart, in his book The Undressed Art: Why We Draw, has examined many reasons from the perspective of the artist and the model. If you are interested in a thoughtful examination of life-drawing practice I highly recommend this excellent book.
Steinhart captures my thoughts when he writes, "…almost all drawing is merely practice. One draws especially to learn…And in the end you are drawing in order to grow within yourself. Matisse said he drew 'to liberate grace and character' and saw the work as 'that of understanding myself.'"
Attending a life-drawing co-op regularly, whether or not you are called upon to sketch naked people on other days of the week, is a useful practice. I hope you will consider giving it a try. Go weekly for 6 weeks and then assess how you feel about your artwork, about your productivity, about your ability to see. Each group has its own dynamics. Some are chatty, some are silent, but all good drawing cooperatives have a clear focus on the work. Try several before you settle on one.
Please note that most life drawing co-ops are open to the drawing public on a drop-in basis. You won't have to sign up for several weeks of attendance (but it is always good to contact the coordinator before your first visit to learn how a particular co-op is run and what art materials are allowed). Also drawing co-ops are not classes. A life drawing co-op is a group of artists who band together to offset modeling fees.
Take cash for your fee. While some groups will take checks it's usually a hassle. Cash is always accepted.
Every life drawing group I've attended has a mix of artistic skill levels so don't be worried about being inexperienced. Willingness to work hard is all that is needed. Often more experienced artists will answer a question during coffee breaks. Keep your eyes open and you'll learn how other artists work as well.)
Twin Cities LIfe Drawing Co-ops
Florence Hill, Studio #103, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN. (It's on the first floor and has its own entrance from the parking lot.
Sundays 2–5 p.m., $6. (Note: this co-op meets every Sunday of the year, regardless of holidays. It is now in its 38th year!) Contact: email@example.com 612 782-0353
Sunday Marathon, Casket Arts Bldg, 6810 17th Ave NE, Minneapolis.
First Sunday of the month, 1:15–4 p.m. (Price: Contact Lisa, Laura didn't have a price down for this and my recollection is it is about $20 which offsets the cost of multiple models and is well worth it.)
Contact: Lisa Pfeiffer, firstname.lastname@example.org; 612 735-3652
Banfill-Locke Art Center, 6666 East River Rd, Fridley.
Wednesday, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Contact: Catherine Vesley or Joyce Schmidt 763-574-1850 at Banfill-Locke.
MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), 2501 Stevens, Minneapolis.
Monday 7-9 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. (see website for specifics on room and fees)
Contact: Life Drawing hours and fees at MCAD.
Land-Marker’s, White Bear Center for the Arts, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
See White Bear Center for the Arts website for details.
Contact: 651 407-0597 email@example.com
Old Town Artists (location somewhere in Old Town?)
Wednesdays 7:30-9:30 p.m. (Costs: ?)
Contact: Lisa Pfeiffer, firstname.lastname@example.org
New in Fall 2013—Gesture Drawing Co-op at The Art Academy (in partnership with MetroSketchers)
651 Snelling Avenue South, St. Paul, MN 55116
Every Sunday (except some holidays) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. $10. (Easels available, bring your own board; there are chairs, and a couple long tables at the back row.) Contact Liz Carlson or Tim Jennen via Facebook MetroSketchers page for additional information or holiday changes.
Macalester (I can't find the details on the life drawing group at this university so if you know the link let me know and I'll update this page.)
Old Town Artists life drawing sessions. Located in the ACVR Warehouse, on the fourth floor, at 106 West Water Street in St. Paul. Check out OldTownArtists.blogspot.com for more information. Specifically look at their drawing sessions page for the most current information on their life drawing sessions. Their portrait drawing session was discontinued in Sept. 2013.
Portrait Co-Op. #103 Studio, California Building, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN. Saturdays 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. All welcome: $10 per session. For information contact: Frank Wetzel, (612) 871-1223
Clothed Model Sketching and Other Sketching Opportunities
Altered Esthetics—the third Monday of every month, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.. Check their site for details and theme. $3 donation suggested.
Dr Sketchy’s (Burlesque) at 331 Club, 13th Ave NE Mpls,
On the fourth Sunday of every month,$10.
Contact: Ophelia Flame, email@example.com
Other Sketching Opportunities are listed on my page Sketching and Sketch Outs in the Twin Cities. There you'll find groups who venture out together to sketch at particular sites, from life—people on the street, architecture, etc. All great fun and practice.
Other Lists I've Discovered
I just found this listing of Minnesota life-drawing/co-op groups. Some of the groups on my list are present and there are some that are not on my list. Check it out.
If you find this information has changed or you know of additional life drawing sessions please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.