Original letter to TriCity Herald


Thank you so much for your inquiry and your interest. 

I became aware of the global sketching phenomenon about 4 or 5 years ago when an artist by the name of Enrico Casarosa, in California, started what became known as the "sketchcrawl."  He had been out pub crawling with friends one night and woke up the next morning thinking how much fun it might be to get some of his artist friends to go out on marathon "sketch crawls," rather than pints and spirits, they would use paint and brushes.  He developed a web page where they could share their work and in a few short months, it went viral - an event that takes place across the globe - every three months: "The World Wide Sketchcrawl."  The next one will be in October and we will be participating.

At about that same time, Gabi Campanario, of the Seattle Times, was having another epiphany that quickly engulfed the art world.  Campanario publishes his sketches each Saturday in the Seattle Times. They are always about the city and what is happening inside it.  He started the "Urban Sketchers" group, which has also gone global. They have held two Global Urban Sketchers Symposia: Portland last year, and Lisbon, Portugal this summer. 

Being aware of all this, I began meeting up with people here in the Tri-Cities who like to sketch and paint; and I began strategizing as to how to get them coalesced about the idea of forming a group that would showcase the Tri-Cites on the world-wide-web along with the rest of the world. 

It was the summer 2009, and it wasn't particularly easy. 

Then I met Nancy Thurston, a lady with a passion, vision, and a certain joie d'vivre regarding life in general.  I rented one of her spaces at the "509 Artspace" out on Clearwater and told her I wanted to do whatever I could to help her make that endeavor a success.  We started having figure drawing sessions twice a month; and that's when I saw the light gleaming through the tunnel: I suggested we could also go out twice a month to do nothing but sketch the Tri-Cities and surrounding area: people, places, events and literally, things. She agreed and together we put up a plan. 

Our very first event, as an organized group, was January 22, 2011 when we hosted approximately a dozen people who went out together on the "30th World Wide Sketchcrawl."  The art we produced that day is posted here. We have been out in the community sketching and painting twice a month ever since.

Our group is an open group, membership is determined simply by being there.  There are no fees, there is no membership list; however we do have an email listing that goes out to over thirty people for each event - people who have expressed interest in being so informed of our activities. Sometimes we have as few as 2 or 3 with us, and sometimes we have over a dozen.  There was a downturn of interest during the summer months, but it is already picking up now that school has started and people are getting back into their normal routines.  We had six at last Friday's Farmers' Market in Richland.

Our purpose is threefold:  

First, we want to enjoy the company of others who share the same passion, art.  We go out into the community and sketch/paint, then we have lunch in one of our many fine local eateries where we share and photograph our work. It is, as we used to say in the sixties, a "blast."

Second, we want to showcase our work in such a manner as to communicate to the community that there are ways of seeing the hills, the grain elevators, the people, the buildings, and even somtimes the fire hydrants, in new and unusual ways.  We believe art soothes the soul, both in the doing, and in the viewing.

Third, we follow the Urban Sketchers manifesto, created by Gabi Companario: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation; our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel; our drawings are a record of time and place; we are truthful to the scenes we witness; we use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles; we support each other and draw together; we share our drawings online; and we show the Tri-Cities and surrounding area, one drawing at a time.

Thank you so much for your interest. 


Jim Bumgarner

No comments:

Post a Comment