via Sketchbook Project

via Sketchbook Project

The Brooklyn Art Library is boxing up its thousands of crowdsourced sketchbooks, housed since 2010 on North Third Street, and hitting the road.

The closing party was this past weekend, but never fear– yes, rents are rising, but the beloved repository for dreams and doodles has already found a space nearby, at 28 Frost Street, and plans to re-open in mid-April.

This week marks our last week in our home for the past 6 years. Its a bittersweet feeling to say goodbye to a place that has been our place for so long. When we moved into this space, we had 1200 sketchbook in our collection, today, we have over 34,000. This place has been a second home to us. One of our favorite parts of running the library is early in the mornings, before we open, sitting here, surrounded by all of these stories and perspectives and just soaking in the wonder that is The Sketchbook Project. Enjoying a few minutes of peace, in a normally crazy city. We are so thankful to our neighbors and community. We can’t wait for our new era, our new adventure and our new space! Please join us Saturday from 7pm-11pm for our last event at 103a!

A photo posted by The Sketchbook Project (@thesketchbookproject) on

Details about the “super top secret” new project are, well, sketchy. But a sign on the front door of the Brooklyn Art Library hints that its new incarnation is also a reformulation of its business model, including many new ways to participate. “We will be home to new artist studios, our museum space, classes, events, and so much more,” reads the sign. “We are so excited to shift our focus from a retail store to a living artist community.”  

But the new concept won’t stray too far from the library’s sketchbook roots — all of the more than 30,000 sketchbooks in the museum will still be on display, available for your weekend browsing pleasure.

In 2011, a New York magazine item described how art-school grads Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker started The Sketchbook Project with a call for submissions in 2007. “The idea came because I didn’t know how to get into a gallery,” said Peterman. “We envisioned this egalitarian community where anyone could exhibit work without some complicated process.” For a $25 fee, big name artists and dilettantes alike receive a Moleskine notebook to fill out with artwork and send back for display.

The new Brooklyn Art Library will take over a space, between the Lorimer and Bedford stops, currently occupied by Reverse gallery, which is moving to Chelsea at the end of the month.

[Update: Peterman told us the new space is two floors and about three times bigger than the old library. It will include five artists studios, renting from around $950-$2,000, as well as spaces for events and community groups to meet and, possibly, pop-up shops. Even though a rent hike at North Third was pushing them out, Peterman said the new space was a big step forward. “We’ve always been sad with our space because when people came to us and wanted to collaborate or do community events, we didn’t have enough space to do it,” he said. He hopes the artist community concept will be able to come to “full circle” fruition with artists getting inspired, working and learning together all in the same place.]

Correction: A previous version stated that the new library would likely open on March 16. Viewing appointments should begin March 16, but the entire space won’t be ready until April.