From City Hall and the Smith Center for the Arts to Dove Block and Lakefront Park, downtown Geneva was host to a series of “sketch crawls” this summer, bringing together students, faculty, staff and community members of all ages at a variety of locations to create drawings of local sites.
Led by Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture Kirin Makker, participants worked on drawings across a range of interesting and sometimes unusual spaces, including sidewalks, side streets and storefronts. The local sketch crawl series is not unique to Geneva, but rather a growing phenomenon that’s observed in communities around the world.
Makker first offered the drawing sessions two summers ago, encouraging students on campus to regularly meet as a group. Although individual sketching is encouraged, she says it’s the larger groups that have the benefit of generating conversation, sharing ideas and “creating a community of urban artistic expression.”
“When you draw, you look closely. You get curious. You ask questions,” Makker says. “You interact with the place and the people. I think it’s important for all residents of a place – whether college students here for four years or permanent residents – to really look at and observe where they live. When you look closely at the built environment, you discover history, culture, how spaces are used or not used and begin to ask why. By looking closely, you become an engaged citizen of a place, one of the central tenets of the architectural studies program, and also of HWS.”
She notes experiences like this one also can be applied to campus, pointing to the Sunken Gardens within the Houghton House complex as an example: “Most HWS students don’t visit the gardens until the annual Senior Dinner when they graduate, which is really a shame because it is such a beautiful space, so unique for a college and a town to have,” she says.
The Sketch Crawls took place on Wednesdays throughout the summer. All students, faculty, staff and community who enjoy sketching, drawing, or would like to photograph the sites – including children – are welcome to join. Makker says that experience in art or architecture is by no means a prerequisite to the sessions.
Previous locations for the summer Sketch Crawl series have included the Smith Center for the Arts, City Hall, the Centennial Building, the Geneva Lakefront, Microclimate, and the Sunken Gardens at HWS. In case of rain, the group meets at Microclimate.
More information and the meeting location for each week is available on the Sketch Crawl Facebook page.