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The Weekend Routine: The Sketchbook Project Creator Steven Peterman

The Weekend Routine Blog Cover

At TaskRabbit, we love the weekends. They may not be any less productive than hectic weekdays, but they have a different kind of pace and energy. In the Weekend Routine series, we take a look at how the people who inspire us use their weekends to find a balance between planning for the week ahead and taking a break from the daily grind.

New York can claim the title of “home to the largest” of many categories —  world’s most extensive subway system, tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and largest marathon, to name a few. But you might be surprised to learn it’s also home to the world’s largest collection of sketchbooks: over 45,000 volumes from over 135 countries worldwide, neatly stacked on the shelves of the Brooklyn Art Library.  Steven Peterman, founder and director of the library, started the Sketchbook Project 12 years ago as a way to create an informal outlet for anyone to create art, with a purpose. He’s done just that and more in a sun-lit space filled with towering shelves in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  

When Steven isn’t at the museum or on the road, he’s spending time with his wife Sara (fun fact: Sara works at TaskRabbit NYC) and their dog, Harriet. Read on to see how Steven makes time for dog walks and mini weekend trips in between library events and bookmobile pop-ups, and where he hopes to take the project next.

Saturday

Getting Away. When possible we like getting away on weekends for mini trips. We’ll go upstate New York to Hudson area or down to Florida to visit family. Sometimes in the winter, it’s nice to just get out of the New York cold and go somewhere warm. Getting away from the city when we can is one of my favorite parts of the weekend.

Bookmobile. I usually have some sort of event going on at the library, or our bookmobile is popping up somewhere so I’m often checking in on those at some point during the weekend. The Bookmobile is an all-encompassing creative experience that allows you to engage with five to eight hundred sketchbooks from our collection. We’ve taken the bookmobile to local schools, museums, and other public spaces. This winter we are heading to Florida for a residency.

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Never “Off.”  I started the project back in 2006. I didn’t start it with the goal to create a museum, I just really wanted to build an interactive space where people can be creative. Over the past 12 years, it’s really grown organically.

I really can’t remember life before the project. On the weekends, I’m never really “off,” but it doesn’t always feel like I’m working either. It’s my project and my museum, so I want to feel connected.

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Sunday

Sketchbook Favorites. It’s so hard to choose a favorite sketchbook from over 40,000. We’ve had kids do the project and come back ten years later as adults to see their books. We’ve also had working moms who got out of making art for a while and signed up to get back into it. I really love to think of the collection as a whole and all the combined stories that are in our library from all over the world.

Avoiding Work. I try to avoid working as much as possible on the weekends, but when running a small business it’s sometimes unavoidable. I also don’t love spending time on the weekends cleaning our apartment or grocery shopping. We typically outsource the overall cleaning of our house to TaskRabbit — we have a favorite Tasker who we use all the time. Sara and I both have chores we hate doing, but luckily they are different so dividing them really works out.

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Feeling inspired for the upcoming weekend? Whether you want more time to relax or you trying to get organized, book a Tasker to get a head start on the weekend.

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