Art House Co-op left Atlanta, still wants your sketchbooks

It's such a bummer when one of the good ones gets away. You try to be good to them and give them love and support but in theend, they leave you for the good-on-paper guy. That's how it feels when any of Atlanta's creative players ditches us for Brooklyn. In January, we got our little art hearts broken when Art House flew the co-op and relocated to New York. But regardless of being a bit jilted, we have to admit, they're doing the damn thing and doin' it well. Example: The Sketchbook Project, the gallery's annual touring exhibition, which has been attracting more artists and attention every year.

The Sketchbook Project is an assignment show open to anyone in the world. For $25, participants are sent a sketchbook and asked to choose a theme for the work they will fill it with. Some of the themes this year include "lights in the distance", "it's raining cats and dogs", "sleepless" and "it will be fun, I swear". Once all the sketchbooks are completed, artists send them to the Art House guys in Brooklyn, where they will become part of a traveling art exhibition starting March 2011.

The Sketchbook Project tour comes to Atlanta in April 2011. At least if Art House Co-op had to leave us, they didn't forget us entirely. (It's okay - don't tell them, but we were only using them for their awesome sketchbooks anyway.)

Sketchbooks are always curious - there's something about the small format, the inherent informality, the protection of being bound by a cover, and the weightlessness of knowing you always have more pages if you fuck up that gives artists the sense of ease to be silly and experimental and present something a little different than other work they do. And since we've all been writing in notebooks since we were kids, there's a subconscious comfort in working within those pages, making it the perfect platform for newer artists for relax and go for it without the canvas-induced stage fright. When you multiply that by thousands of artists (seriously, thousands), the effect is an intimate tidal wave.

Art House Co-op was started in 2006 by then-Atlanta College of Art students Shane Zucker and Steven Peterman. After a few years of experimenting with different communal art space structures at their Decatur location, the guys moved the operation over to Castleberry Hill where their free-for-all art projects had a happy home until this year. Now they're based out of the Brooklyn Art Library.

Listen, Art House, we're happy if you're happy. We want the best for you. But we're not coming up to visit you and the new guy and see the new curtains you guys picked out - it's too soon. Just send us sketchbooks and we'll let you know when we're ready to be friends.

To participate of the Sketchbook Project, sign up here. Registration deadline: Oct. 31, 2010. All completed sketchbooks are due Jan. 15, 2011.

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