Sketchbook Club allows for artistic expression

“I have so much work! I am so stressed!” is a common refrain overheard on the Westminster campus. The Sketchbook Club has become a popular respite  for students seeking haven from academic pressure. Created this year by junior Noah Weinstein, the club has already grown into a huge success, and continues to develop.

“Going into junior year, I started to realize how much work I had, and I knew that there had to be a lot of other kids in the same situation,” said Weinstein. “I thought it would be nice to have a club for kids to come hang out and release stress with some art.”

Since then, the idea has evolved into much more with the enthusiasm of its student members as well as involvement with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). After Weinstein reached out to SCAD, the school responded eagerly and have since donated sketchbooks and pencils to the club. Looking to the future, the club hopes to invite speakers from SCAD and other art groups in the Atlanta community to inspire members.

“Robert Cargill, who is on the board at SCAD will be speaking, which I’m super excited about,” said Weinstein. “He did all the advertising campaigns for Coke, and is an amazing watercolor artist.”

There will also be several local artists coming in to teach techniques to members of the club and speak about life as a professional artist.

Additionally, Weinstein continues to expand his enthusiasm for art outside of the club itself and Westminster. He has placed multiple sketchbooks in various galleries around Atlanta and invited artists to borrow a sketchbook and participate in sketching. Weinstein also plans to visit galleries in town with the club to draw inspiration from other artists’ work.

The environment of the Sketchbook Club has enabled the members to form a tight-knit bond with each other. Their camaraderie will even appear throughout their shared sketchbooks by the end of the year. The difference in artistic techniques will be demonstrated and the entire community of the club will be represented in each book, due to the unique style of each member.

“My favorite part of the club is being able to work with so many different people,” said Weinstein. “It’s exciting to see everyone there sketching.”

The energy of the students has been a huge part in boosting the club’s attendance. At a recent Thursdaymeeting, there were more than 40 students gathered in faculty advisor Benjamin Steele’s studio in the basement of Broyles.

“It’s already drawn more people than I would have expected,” said Steele. “I think [Weinstein] has done a really good job of marketing and advertising it and getting people excited.”

A major part of the appeal has to do with the casual nature of the club. Many feel that in art classes, a higher pressure and standard is set for a student’s work.

“I really enjoy being able to casually sketch,” said junior Ellen Buchanan. “In art, we always have a goal or a deadline. With Sketchbook Club, it’s a lot more fun to have the ability to sketch whatever we want.”

The de-stressing environment of the Sketchbook Club allows the students to delve into something that they maybe haven’t been able to try yet.

“What I love is that it brings people down to the art studios who might not normally come down here for a class and offers another entry point into experiencing the environment that we create down here,” said Steele. “It’s a little bit different from the rest of the school and I think some people might experience that, really like it, and ultimately then decide to sign up for a class.”