Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School takes place every first and third Sunday of the month at 1331 Union St. in the West Bottoms. It is a place where artists come together for a night of socialization, burlesque performance and figure drawing.
“It brings a lot of good people together, from people who are established artists all the way down to people who are just starting out, all in the same room,” Amy Farrand said. “It also exposes people to a section of life they would never see, ever. You could do a lot worse with your time on a Sunday night. More fun than church.”
The Kansas City chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s has existed for the three years. There are other Dr. Sketchy’s groups in other parts of the country. The first was founded in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2005.
“It was actually a friend of mine who had just moved to Kansas City that brought it to me, Laurenn McCubbin,” Dr. Sketchy’s founder, Rachael McMeachin, said. “She was a friend of Molly [Crabapple]’s in New York. She’s like, ‘So my friend has this Dr. Sketchy’s thing going on, I would like to start one in Kansas City. I love your space. Can I do it there?’ So I didn’t know anything about it, and I said, ‘Yes.’ She left four-six months later. She left to Las Vegas to get married. We just kept going. I have enough connections in the art scene and performance scene that it just made sense to keep with it.”
Many people find live figure drawing and seeing the works of others help them improve their drawing skills.
“I think it’s more challenging than I expected,” participant Adam Jarvis said. “I’ve never done live drawing, and I am surprised by the speed that’s required. You learn to adapt quickly. You do broad general outlines and then you go back and lock onto the details. I’m used to starting from a detail and going from there. This is my $6 art class.”
Even if you aren’t the drawing type of artist, Dr. Sketchy’s can be a great experience.
“I always think [about] some of the things I’ve seen here over the years, and some of the things that have happened here at Dr. Sketchy’s, I like to think this is the closest I’ll ever get to Studio 54,” Dr. Sketchy’s host, Susanna Lee (Lucky Deluxe) said. “Dr. Sketchy’s has been something that I have loved doing for so many different reasons over the years. The people I have met at Dr. Sketchy’s have become really good friends. When I leave Kansas City, it will be very difficult to leave Dr. Sketchy’s. It will be what I miss the most.”
Dr. Sketchy’s performance/modeling space is now smoke-free. Smoking is allowed on the first floor near the open garage door at the smoker’s table, a new feature this season.
“Everyone in the house quit smoking, so we kinda decided that smoking inside wouldn’t be a good idea,” elevator operator Nathan Hull said. “After Sketchy’s, with that high level of smoking it just smelled like cigarettes for two, three days.”