A Wing and a Prayer

As a professional art model in New York City one of my biggest fears has always been that some misfortune would befall Spring Studio, our town’s singular life drawing studio for artists of all skill levels and my absolute favorite venue in which to pose. Sadly, that day has come. Minerva Durham, Spring Studio’s founder and director, is being ousted from her space at 64 Spring Street. Why? You can probably guess why, using the words “landlord”, “market value”, “rent”, and “real estate”, not to mention the very nature of this city, its strenuous commitment to shift and transform, and its myriad David vs Goliath battles among businesses and residents with divergent interests. Here is the NY Times article about the Spring Studio situation: “SoHo Artist’s Studio, a Space Detached From Time, Is Forced to Move”. Now I don’t want to jinx anything and write about a possible new space for the studio. But if anyone has the resilience and the determination to keep their passion alive, it’s Minerva. So we’ll just leave it at that. In the meantime I, and everyone else who cherishes Spring Studio, will be keeping our fingers crossed.

On a less depressing note, my New York Mets are 1/3 of the way into a rollicking postseason run, and we diehard fans are loving every minute of it! Except for the stressful, feel-like-you’re-gonna-have-a-heart-attack parts, but hey that’s the price you pay for being in the playoffs πŸ™‚ But I take nothing for granted. All the teams are formidable and they all want to win. It’s all magic and mayhem, fastballs and breaking balls, diving catches and stolen bases and utterly deranged fans!

So as of now I’m praying for my very dear friend and mentor Minerva Durham, and my beloved NY Mets. May they both survive and prevail and continue to bring joy to those who love them.

Prayer,Β by Kazimir Malevich. Tempera on wood, 1907:


14 thoughts on “A Wing and a Prayer

  1. Lynn Kauppi says:

    Hi Claudia
    Not being a New Yorker, I obviously don’t know anything about the studio but I’m sorry this happened. Hope and pray it all works out.
    As for the Mets? When I was in grad school we lived in Chicago and our son grew up as an almost rabid Cubs fan. So you know who I’m rooting for.
    Stunning painting!

    • artmodel says:


      The Cubs have many people outside of Chicago rooting for them, as they should. If my Mets weren’t in the playoffs I’d be rooting for them too! Game 3 tomorrow night at Wrigley Field πŸ™‚

      The Spring Studio news really is heartbreaking. But we’re all praying that there might be a second chapter in the life of that special place.

      Glad you liked the painting, and thanks for commenting!


  2. Jennifer says:

    It’s so depressing that this happens in all big cities, that the money people eventually win. I shall always cherish my memory of drawing in Spring Studio and meeting you and Fred afterwards and send my condolences to all of you who’ve used such a wonderful place regularly over the years. xx

    • artmodel says:


      I also cherish the memory of your visit. That it involved the beloved Spring Studio makes it bittersweet. Always remember that you had the opportunity to draw in a genuine beacon of life drawing in NYC; one that has run morning, noon, and night, 7 days a week, for over 20 years. Very sad that it’s come to this.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Jennifer.


  3. Bill says:

    I have a confession. My brother-in-law, who’s a really good guy, is a long-suffering (make that verrrrrrrrry long-suffering) Cubs fan from Chicago. So, in deference to both of you, I’m going to sit this one out. But I promise both of you that I’ll root for the winner in the World Series.:-)

    • artmodel says:

      Bill, that sounds fine! You are a fair man of loyalties πŸ™‚
      Postseason baseball is always exciting, and doubly so when your team is playing!

      Thanks for your comments.


  4. Elaine Hajian says:

    As an immigrant from Armenia, my father came to America in the 1920’s. He was so grateful to be an American that he became a baseball fan. What could be more American than baseball. When I was
    around eight years he would take me to games at Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds and Ebbetts Field. At that age I really didn’t understand the game but I loved being with him. The Dodgers were his favorite team. Even though we lived in Manhattan we would take the long
    subway ride to Brooklyn to see the games. After the Dodgers and Giants left for California in 1957, there was no National League
    team in New York. That changed in 1962 when the Mets came into existence. In 1964 they moved into Shea Stadium. By 1969 they
    were the Miracle Mets, won the World Series. Dad was in his glory.
    I was so happy for him, it brought back all the memories of our
    times together embracing America’s game. It will stay in my heart forever. October 26th will be my 80th birthday. We have planned a trip
    with family and friends on Sunday for a Fall Foliage cruise up the
    Hudson River. Sunday is the seventh day of the NLCS. If the Mets win,
    the World Series is next. For Dad, LETS GO METS!!!!

    • artmodel says:


      This was a beautiful comment, thank you so much for writing it. I think that baseball, more than any other sport, plays a sentimental part in family memories and relationships. I miss Grandpa. He would be enjoying this immensely. And given the way the Mets are playing, you may very well have a whopper of an 80th birthday present!

      Looking forward to the Hudson River cruise. It’s going to be a terrific day, in honor of a terrific woman πŸ™‚

      Love you, and GO METS!!

  5. Derek says:

    First and foremost my sympathies goes to your boss Ms Durham whose own studio is sadly being forced out Iand my pareysr are to her and her business and it is a place for artist to be creative and its a shame again my prayers to your employer.

    Happy 80 years to you Elaine and you are one creatiove soul and I hope to see more of your worlks in the years ahead and stay in good health you will have one great longevity. I am now 66 going on 67 and I survived the 1960’s and the 1970’s from drugs and cancer and I am still standing I plan to be around for my children and grandchildren and you all inspire me to be great artist again and I hope the both of you mum and daughter can be such a great inspiration tous artist with your creative input on your artistic concepts in many years to come. God bles you all.

    Again my prayers to Mrs Durham and may ehs find happiness on her new journey in a new environment. And what a great spirit she is and its a shame she has to go through this/

    • artmodel says:


      Thanks, as always, for your kind and sympathetic comments. Minerva Durham will hopefully be able to keep Spring Studio alive. Your prayers matter. As for Mom, the big day is almost here! We’re all looking forward to it πŸ™‚


  6. Steve says:

    Hey Claudia, as you know there is rarely a dull moment when your team is in the playoffs, whether living or dying. Games are never watched casually. Anyway with that being said, for my favorite NL team, bring it home boys. Let’s go Mets!⚾️

    • artmodel says:


      Right on!! This playoff run has been, so far, super enjoyable! Great fun. Let’s hope they keep the momentum going for the big prize! Game 1 Tuesday!

      Thanks for commenting, friend.


  7. Chris B says:

    Man, I just read this and this is the first I’d heard of Spring Street Studios closing. It makes me sad, though not surprised. Every day brings news of some long-standing NY business being forced out. I’ve been an on-again, off-again patron for many years now, though I haven’t been there for months. I still have some punches left on my card; I have to make sure to get there a few times over the next month.

    • artmodel says:


      Yes, I hope you can make it down there! Drawing sessions end on Monday, December 14th. Get that card punched! I’ve been modeling there for so long and I’m still very sad about this even though – like you said – this is becoming a regular occurrence in this town. A friend told me he’s surprised Spring Studio lasted as long as it did in that space, which is another way to look at it.

      Thanks for commenting!


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