DRAW NYC, an open-air drawing studio

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DRAW NYC is an open-air drawing studio, offering access to fine art materials and a place to draw together in public. Designed for New Yorkers of all ages and always free, elements include:

  • high-quality paper, pencils, charcoal, drawing boards, and other tools and materials for drawing; 
  • printed cards with activities conceived by artists and educators;
  • art books;
  • a custom-designed cart that stores, moves, and displays the collection (which can be closed and locked in place), and eight benches for seating;
  • an adjacent “street gallery” displaying drawings made at previous locations, as well as large reproductions of artists’ work provided through a partnership with The Drawing Center;
  • staff to set up and run the program (one program staff member and one manager);
  • teaching artists or Artists-in-Residence at most deployments;
  • an option for hosts, other organizations, or local businesses to participate by adding special activities (e.g. with still-life displays).

Here’s what happens: people approach, sit down, pick up materials, and begin drawing. Some follow artist prompts or are introduced to different techniques and materials (e.g. blending sticks and watercolor pencils) by our staff. Some draw for just a short time, others much longer. People feel good, even proud, while drawing in public, and no matter their skill level, people are transformed into artists. This program has served New Yorkers since 2015.

Help bring drawing to all NYC neighborhoods.

Other ways to get involved:

  • Apply to be an Artist in Residence. Contact us.
  • Artists, illustrators, educators: share a prompt and inspire New Yorkers to draw.
  • Contact us to bring DRAW NYC to your community.

From our Artists in Residence:

“I felt like some moments could change something, maybe one moment could change someone’s life.”

— 2017 AIR Luyi Wang

“What I enjoyed most were the personal interactions I had..Being an AIR strengthened my desire to take a more active role as an artist in my community, and to engage with the public more as an artist and art educator.”

— 2015 AIR Susan Coyne

“Most of all, I appreciated the opportunity to connect with members of so many different communities in NYC through art, rather than producing work as an anonymous observer.”

— 2015 AIR Genevieve Irwin

Materials donated by:

Blick Art Materials has generously donated high-quality art materials to DRAW NYC since 2015.

The Drawing Center has generously donated a number of its Drawing Papers and provided passes for free admission to its galleries in SoHo.

2019 Supporters:

DRAW NYC is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Become a sponsor!


Blog posts about DRAW NYC:

Creating a special still life for DRAW at Chelsea Market

Creating a special still life for DRAW at Chelsea Market

Our DRAW residency rolled along at Chelsea Market, and today we gathered around an amazing still life created with the folks at Dickson's Farmstand Meats. Thanks to our Artist-in-Residence, Hui Ma, and staff Yifan Wu (artist as well), and volunteers from The Garden...

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Creating a place to gather around drawing at Chelsea Market

Creating a place to gather around drawing at Chelsea Market

Our DRAW residency continues at Chelsea Market, and today people gathered around a clever still life created with Bowery Kitchen Supplies. Thanks to volunteers from The Garden School in Jackson Heights! Come find DRAW every Sunday from 11am-2pm in Chelsea Local on the...

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DRAW at Chelsea Market for Lunar New Year

DRAW at Chelsea Market for Lunar New Year

Our DRAW residency continued at Chelsea Market this Sunday, featuring artist Felicia Liang. People gathered around to draw a beautiful Lunar New Year still life, created by Pearl River. Come find DRAW every Sunday from 11am-2pm through March 10 on the lower level of...

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DRAW comes inside to Chelsea Market this winter

DRAW comes inside to Chelsea Market this winter

We're expanding our work to include more indoor deployments during the winter! Starting this weekend, we'll bring our DRAW program to Chelsea Market, which is a great place to gather in the cold. Drop-in and draw with your neighbors at Chelsea Local on the lower level...

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Drawing together in Ridgewood

Drawing together in Ridgewood

Today our program DRAW NYC landed at a NYC DOT Weekend Walk hosted by the Myrtle Avenue BID in Ridgewood. We set up next to staff from Blick and had help from two great volunteers, Lauren and Cathrine, from the engineering firm WSP. (Thank you!) Participation was made...

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Founding Sponsors:

Fabiola Salmán

Betty Chen &
Peter Coombe

Laura & Robert

Romy &
David Cohen

Karen & Dan

Evgenia Peretz