The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday June 10th

Urban Sketchers come to Ackland Art Museum

A trip to the Ackland Museum Store is like a trip around the world.

The store is showcasing works by Urban Sketchers, a collective of artists who draw scenes on location in cities across the globe, until Oct. 6.

See work by Urban Sketchers

Time: Store hours, Aug. 16 – Oct. 6
Location: Ackland Museum Store

See video of the artwork

Urban Sketchers at Ackland Art Museum Store

Alice Southwick, the Ackland store’s manager, said she stumbled upon the Urban Sketchers website and decided to contact them.

“I was absolutely taken with the idea of on-location sketching,” Southwick said.

Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario started the sketching collective in 2007 and still serves as chairman.

In its earliest stages, Urban Sketchers existed only as a Flickr page but soon expanded, in 2011, to become a nonprofit organization that supports artists.

The group holds yearly sketch symposiums where attendees can receive a digital print after a $75 donation.

People in cities all over the world have formed local versions of the collective, called “sketchcrawls.”

Southwick said she emailed Urban Sketchers in hopes of featuring the global artwork in the store, and they put her in touch with Chapel Hill urban sketcher Laura Frankstone.

Frankstone pitched the exhibition to the Urban Sketchers collective, and Southwick and Frankstone worked to gather drawings from 38 artists.

Ninety pieces were donated, and 70 percent of the sales of the sketches will go to Urban Sketchers.

Frankstone said the Ackland store is the perfect place for Urban Sketchers to have a group exhibition.

“Since it is our first group show, we can have it in a more relaxed setting and work out the bugs,” Frankstone said.

Melinda Rittenhouse, assistant manager at the Ackland store, said the sketches vary — some are detailed, and some are loosely drawn; some focus on buildings, and some focus on people.

“They all kind of capture life and what is happening in that moment,” Rittenhouse said.

Omar Jaramillo, an urban sketcher who is an architect living in Berlin, said in an email that he has always drawn and painted, and sketching cities was just his way of exploring them.

“Drawing a new city for me has always been a way to become a part of it,” Jaramillo said.

Southwick said she loved getting art in her mailbox from places like Istanbul and the Netherlands.

“I just thought this was fantastic, that you could connect people all over the world,” she said.

“Technology brought these people together.”

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