Welcome to Minerva’s Drawing Studio

Some of you may remember that I blogged many months ago about the imminent closing of Minerva Durham’s life drawing studio on Spring Street in the SoHo section of Manhattan. And longtime readers know well that Spring Studio has always been, hands down, my favorite place to model. I have since mentioned, in a post or two, that Minerva has found a new space in which to set up shop, and do what she does better than anybody: keep daily, open life drawing alive in New York City. A few readers have requested a formal introduction to the new space and I’m happy to oblige! First, a brief homage to the old Spring Studio with a photo of its distinctive red door, and the staircase descending into the basement studio we loved and depended on for so many years. Farewell 64 Spring Street. You are missed.

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And now ladies and gentleman, the sign and door of the new incarnation, renamed Minerva’s Drawing Studio! Broome Street, in the heart of Chinatown, just around the corner from the Grand St subway station. The excellent dumpling shop around the corner on Eldridge Street is enjoying a burst of new business customers from snacking artists!

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The Broome St studio space differs from the Spring Street space in two significant ways: it is above ground on street level, and it is blessed with natural light that bathes the room through tall windows overlooking a private courtyard. Upon entry, visitors are greeted by this marvelous large cityscape painted many years ago by Minerva Durham herself. Edward Hopper would be envious!

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Minerva has held onto the trusty half-circle arrangement with two “tiers” of seating for the artists to choose from. That’s me relaxing on the platform during the long break last Tuesday. Thank you Bruce for taking this photo!

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And I took this photo looking above from the platform; the model’s lighting, and I really like the ceiling tile design. Lovely detail.

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During the move between studios Minerva had to sell off or throw out a lot of her accumulated things, as the new studio is smaller and has less storage space. But this guy could never be left behind – an essential player in Minerva’s anatomy lessons:

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I was on the modeling schedule at the Spring Street studio into its last days, and I was on the schedule at the new studio in its first days … a transition that has defined for me – professionally and personally – the supreme sense of loyalty, purpose, and belonging that I’ve always felt from Minerva’s mission, her circle, and her stewardship. As an artist’s model, it is an honor to be aligned with this journey, and this courageous, inspiring woman I admire.

At the opening reception for the new studio back in January, Minerva spoke to the crowd and welcomed everyone to the new space. In the true spirit of this community, a man took the opportunity to sketch Minerva as she spoke:

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A pencil and pastel sketch of me by Chuck Connelly, from last week:

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And from the same session, a quick sketch by Jerilyn Jurinek. I was in a reclined-pose kind of mood that day 🙂

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18 thoughts on “Welcome to Minerva’s Drawing Studio

  1. Looks very friendly and informal! I would love to go and sketch there, should I (ever) visit the U.S.A. and NY

    • artmodel says:

      artwithnudity,

      Yes, should you ever find yourself in NYC you must go to Minerva’s Drawing Studio! You’d absolutely love it!

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

      Claudia

  2. Bill says:

    Glad that there is a place like this — a part of the world that is permanently beautiful.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Fantastic to see that the spirit of Spring Studios lives on! I took a photo of the door when I visited back in 2010 🙂

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer!

      So good to hear from you! I’ve missed your comments.Your visit to Spring Studio was many years ago but I remember it well! And I’m glad you took a photo of the door! I walked past it the other day … sad to see it closed. But we have our new space and are keeping the spirit alive 🙂

      Hope everything has been well with you!

      Claudia

  4. scultore says:

    Minerva’s studio on Spring or Broome, I agree, the best place to drawing, monitor and model! Its been a pillar in my life. Plus the best models in New York, like you.

    • artmodel says:

      Bruce,

      Amen to all that! As much as I’ve blogged about Spring Studio I don’t think I can truly convey how important Minerva’s enterprise is, on a personal level, to her loyal patrons. The attachment we all feel is quite profound.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  5. Dave says:

    I hope to visit the new place some day. Too bad I never made it to Spring Street but I feel almost like I was there, thanks to your descriptions and photos over the years.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      I’m glad I was able to paint an intimate picture of Spring Studio! And it will continue. When I reflect on my art modeling career, I can’t even imagine it without Minerva’s place.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  6. Derek says:

    I wish I was there in that new place but I live in Australia.
    I am glad you and your employer are working together again since the transition began months ago. I have been to Chinatown back in the 1970’s. The rent in those days was cheaper than what it is now after all these years.. I see a picture you looked very relaxed and comfortable in this new bohemian studio.
    I am glad for her and for you as well and you can still inspire new artists in the future with your creativity that you are doing in the studio. You can always invite your mum Elaine to be the new studio in the future for her creative juices she has in her mind. I always loved her landscape pastel paintings and others she has been. You have such a talented family.
    Your reclining poses has been legendary and reminds me of some of the muses from the 1800’s who have done this. You do it with such creative artistry and a lot of soul and be strong and vulnerable which is the beauty of the arts.

    God Bless you both and all the best to you and Ms. Durham

    • artmodel says:

      Derek,

      You were one of the people who was asking about Minerva’s new studio, so this blog post is partially thanks to you! The new location is suitable in many ways, but I can assure you that the rents in Chinatown are much much higher than in the 70s! All NYC rents of course. It’s crazy. I admit that I wasn’t confident that Minerva would find something appropriate and affordable, but miraculously she did!

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments and your kind words.

      Claudia

    • artmodel says:

      Bill, I have seen it. The quality is not very good, unfortunately. A friend is in the process of filming a documentary video about Minerva and the Spring Studio story. It will be worth the wait!

      Claudia

  7. Ken Crocker says:

    Daily drawing sessions? Boy am I jealous. Really enjoy your blog.

    • artmodel says:

      Ken,

      Thank you! So glad that you enjoy the blog! We really are blessed to have this remarkable place, and the remarkable woman who makes it happen. Yes, daily life drawing is pretty great 🙂

      Claudia

  8. Jim O'Neil says:

    Great post! I’d be there in a New York minute, except, sigh, the IND doesn’t run quite this far.

    • artmodel says:

      Jim,

      We do have the largest transit system in America, but it still has its limits. And Broome Street might be a lengthy commute from up your way 😉

      Good to hear from you!

      Claudia

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