6 FREE NYC Summer Art Adventures

free summer art events in nyc http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2014/06/6-free-nyc-summer-art-experiences.html

(get your art on summer 2014)
There are so many free and almost free art activities you can do this summer in New York City hosted by museums and sketch groups. Discover an art adventure that is right for you and your family.

All these events you can do by yourself, with a friend or your artistic teen.  Here are some of the best I found, and I am sure there are loads more!

Now, I am not talking about the ones where parents stand around checking their smart phones while their toddlers glue construction paper onto paper plates. These are more sophisticated classes and activities that you can do whether or not you bring artistic tweens. They will not be bored and neither will you. By the way, if you are planning a visit to New York, check out each of the museum websites to see what activities are going on when you are here so you can discover the perfect one for you.

1) Metropolitan Museum of Art “Sunday Studio”

Chinese Calligraphy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Learn how to do Chinese Calligraphy at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( for free)!

With the price of the museum admission you can choose from lots of family friendly art activities and materials are provided.You do not even need a reservation, just show up.

on my calendar

On Sunday July 6th and July 20, 1:00–4:00 p.m. you can learn Brush and Water: Chinese Calligraphy All the Metropolitan Museum of Art “Sunday Studio” classes are held in conjunction with exhibits so you can draw inspiration from the gallery and then try your own artwork.

I have this Chinese Calligraphy class on my calendar. Although I am going away both weekends the class is being offered,but if I have any energy left at all, I may head down to the city to learn Chinese calligraphy.


asian art by @schulmanArt with decorating idea
Asian Art inspired by Japanese textiles, sketched at the Museum 
and completed in the studio. You can collect your own inspiring 
Asian art for your home from imagekind

2) Met Museum “Drop in Drawing”

Another “class” I have done at this museum is “Drop in Drawing” Usually, this is the first Friday of the month.  Each month you meet in a different art gallery. When it is crowded they ask participants to rotate every thirty minutes but during quieter months you can stay the whole time.


There is a teaching artist to guide you ( if you wish) and all materials are provided including charcoal, paper, drawing board, stools and wipes for your hands when you are done. Docents circulate the gallery replacing your worn out pencils with freshly sharpened ones.

You are welcome to bring your own sketchbook, but they prefer you use their (safe in the museum) drawing materials. When I have done this, I have gone home and created artworks based on my sketches. You can see the African Art and Asian art I did during other Drop in Drawing events.

african art by @schulmanArt with decorating idea
African Art, fine art print – collect your own from Imagekind

Some events for everyone, some just for kids…

All ages are welcome to the drop in drawing but your teenager may prefer the parent free teen drawing events. (also free…who knew?) I  used to take my daughter to “art treks” and other art activities which were all age appropriate and allowed me to explore the galleries on my own while she participated in interactive art history classes with her peers.

Drop in Drawing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

marked my calendar!

The “Drop in Drawing” I have marked on my calender is Friday, August 1, 6:30–8:30 p.m. where you can draw decorative objects in gallery 554. ( ask any info desk and they will let you know where to go)

The Deno’s Fabulous Wonder Wheel, Coney Island

3) NYC Sketchers

This free group meetups on Saturdays in locations around New York City to sketch.This Saturday (June 28th 10:00) they are meeting in Cold Spring, New York. I have never been to this quaint upstate town and this is the perfect excuse to go. Anyone is welcome to join this enthusiastic group of sketchers. They maintain a blog and a google group so you can notified of upcoming events.

how to join

To be notified of upcoming sketching events, including our weekly sketching meet-ups and World Wide Sketchcrawls, join Urban Sketchers NYC Google Group.



4) Museum of Modern Art

This is another favorite of my family until my daughter grew out of them and then got too busy following her own musical passions. To participate in the age appropriate family activity, you do have to register (although it is free) but there are also lots of drop in events as well.

gallery events

Gallery Sessions are creative exploratory experiences facilitated by Museum educators that allow visitors a unique perspective on works in the galleries, art history, and the creative process. Groups meet in the galleries noted on the daily schedule. Gallery Sessions are free with Museum admission. No registration is required.

on my calendar

Red Studio by Matisse
Red Studio by Matisse
Although there are lots of events to choose from, I was intrigued by this one on “Matisse: The Color of Our World” Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:30 p.m.  The description on the website says:
According to Henri Matisse, “Modern Art is joy spread through Color.” Color, and its radical use, was fundamental to the artist’s practice. Come experience and understand Matisse’s employment of color, and look at works like Red Studio (1911) and Dance I (1909) in a whole new way.
If you can’t make it when I think I am going, the event repeats several times and there are loads of others to choose from on the museum’s website.

studio sessions

Lygia Clark, Caminhando
Lygia Clark, Caminhando, 1964 (Photograph: Beto Felicio)

Yes, more free ones! The only ones I found are this weekend so I will have to choose between this and the Cold Spring sketchers…. hmm… but this really sounds interesting so if I don;t feel like driving myself somewhere I may hop the train to the city instead. This weekend there are free studio immersions connected with the Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988. MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me is an interactive space that explores the intersections between art, therapeutic practice, and the ways in which we relate to objects and people through physical encounters. Taking Lygia Clark’s art as a reference point, the Studio presents a series of drop-in programs, participatory experiences, and artist-led workshops that reveal the profound resonance Clark’s work has had with contemporary artists. Come see how a Moebius strip can be transformed with a pair of scissors, watch a net of rubber bands expand through movement, and twist and connect your body in unexpected positions like an octopus, and more. (hmmm….. )


5)  Museum of Art and Design

This design museum on the west side offers lots of studio classes that are either specific to teens or young adult friendly. Check out the Sunday Studio for drop in classes that $10 each! Like the other museums, the studio classes explore techniques on exhibit and give you a chance to try your hand at creating your own jewelry or other 3-D design. There were a lot of great studio classes, I am afraid I am travelling too many weekends to pick one, but I bet you will find one just right for you.

6) The Frick Museum


botanical drawing from the Frick Collection website by @schulmanArt
Several of my drawings from Sunday Sketch
 are still on the Frick museum website

My daughter adored the Frick programs for middle school and high school students and there are also events for us adults too. I have done the drop in drawing on Sunday, but I am intrigued by the Wednesday night sketch groups which allows you to go into the galleries. Depending on the event, you may have to reserve your spot.


Stools and materials provided. You may bring your museum approved own materials. The museum website says you are limited to paper 12×18″ and dry media such as lead and graphite pencils. When I did this event in the past, I took my drawings home and added color in my studio. You can see what I did in this blog post.

12 x 18 inches and with charcoal or lead pencils only – See more at: http://www.frick.org/visit/museum/sketching#sthash.02ncDaNj.dpuf

12 x 18 inches and with charcoal or lead pencils only – See more at: http://www.frick.org/visit/museum/sketching#sthash.02ncDaNj.dpuf
12 x 18 inches and with charcoal or lead pencils only. – See more at: http://www.frick.org/visit/museum/sketching#sthash.02ncDaNj.dpuf

on my calendar


Same drawing from above, but with pastels added 
in my studio. You collect your own botanical drawing or 
any of the others I did that day at the Frick

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5 – 7:30 p.m I just signed up and was delighted to learn that not only is the event free, but you get free museum admission too! ( in case you are wondering, many of these programs are funded through generous donors… whenever I get the opportunity to take advantage of a free event I often spend double the museum admission in the gift shop to “support the museum” as well as my art addiction)


I will be sharing my summer art adventures here on the blog

Looking forward to going and sharing these fun interactive art events with you. (are you subscribed to my blog via by Email / RSS / BlogLovin / NetworkedBlogs ??)



So, how are you getting your art on this summer?

mentioned in this blog post: @metmuseum @MuseumModernArt @MADMuseum  @frickcollection

0 thoughts on “6 FREE NYC Summer Art Adventures”

  1. Wow, I didn't realize there were so many ways to get creative! I'm going to have to check my community and see if there is anything here!


  2. They all sound fabulous! I loved visting the Met and the Guggenheim when I went to New York (a shame its more than a decade agao!). It's great to have interactive activities to do with children of any age as well, and it can be hard to find ways to fill all those summer days!


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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