Urban Sketchers began in 2007 when Seattle based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario created an online forum for sketchers to share their on-location drawings. His call for artists around the world to sketch and share their love of the environments where they live and travel was an immediate success. Ten years later the non-profit Urban Sketchers organization boasts 300 chapters in 60 countries - located in 374 cities – fueled by the enthusiasm of 120,000 members. The global USk group publishes the online zine, Drawing Attention and promotes international conferences. In 2023 the Urban Sketchers will be mixing, mingling, and sketching in Auckland, New Zealand.
In 2021, ACWL-Nuveen Artist Member Mary Jo (MJ) Ernst officially moved home to Montague, Michigan after spending much of her adult life in Chicago. While in Chicago, MJ was very involved in Urban Sketchers Chicago, serving as one of their chapter’s administrators. Upon her return to the area, MJ brought her love of drawing and commitment to the USk vision, values, and techniques of on location sketching and introduced them to area artists. MJ’s infectious energy has helped launch the Urban Sketchers West Michigan along with fellow artists, Holland-based Marcia Schrotenboer, and Josiah Hanchett from Grand Rapids. To date the growing group of dedicated sketchers has had meetups in Montague, Holland, Fruitport, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids. While they are still working toward their official chapter recognition the group is confident they will earn that title later this year.
With a tremendous amount of help from MJ and signage assistance from Michelle Kunze, the ACWL-Nuveen is proud to present an exhibition featuring sketches from three Michigan-based Urban Sketchers Chapters: West Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. On display from September 16 through October 28, community members are invited to visit the ACWL-Nuveen to view the exhibition and even create their own sketch to add to the show! The public is also invited to attend an exhibition reception on Friday, October 7 from 5:00-7:00pm where artists in the show will be sharing their sketchbooks with the public. On Saturday, October 29, sketchers from across Michigan will convene at the ACWL-Nuveen at 11:00am for a community sketchwalk - everyone is invited!
If you are interested in learning more about Urban Sketchers or any of the three Michigan Urban Sketchers chapters, please visit the following links: