Every Monday, artists gather around a pool of art supplies and cigarettes at Jobot Coffee & Bar to draw and socialize late into the night.
The tradition was started more than four years ago by artist David Bessent and Metropolitan Art Institute alumns CJ Melton, Thomas Schmidt, and Catie Cotter as a space to collaborate and work on art in a loose, social setting.
Melton, an artist and musician, said the gathering helped develop a sense of community that helped him with visual art.
“I wasn’t always visually focused,” Melton said. “Now I have a solid base of people doing this a lot longer than me, and I can go to them and learn from them.”
“This gives us a consistent social thing we get to do every week,” Schmidt said. “Drawing in a social atmosphere is so different than drawing alone.”
Schmidt said that doing art alone in a studio can produce “very raw” emotions and work, and drawing socially is a different mindset.
Artist Harvey Mercadoocasio said when drawing in a studio, “you get into your own head, and that’s not a pretty place.”
The drawing night tradition gives artists a space to devote entirely to artistic work, which Schmidt said can be difficult to find as a working adult.
“Sometimes you just drop doing art, for work and other things,” said Schmidt. “I’ve done that plenty of times. This gives you time to actually do work.”
Cotter said while she was in high school, she used to go to Jobot’s previous location on Fifth Street for hours to work on art.
“Drawing night as a working adult was the way to continue that,” Cotter said. “We got sucked in in high school. Now (Thomas and I) are 24.”
Schmidt said artists of any skill level or medium are welcome to join the Monday drawing night tradition. The sessions usually begin at about 10 p.m.
“We educate, we don’t criticize or judge,” said Mercadoocasio.
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