Sketching Nyack

Local Artist Bill Batson Turns Visual Artists into Performers and Art Making into a Spectator Sport

It took months of planning and the work of dozens of volunteers to unleash a Flash Sketch Mob of over 100 artists in Nyack on Saturday, June 16.

All of the hallmarks of the flash mob phenomenon were on display: sudden inexplicable activity that had unsuspecting pedestrians scratching their heads and a mysterious mass of individuals, acting with invisible orchestration, engaging in an act of art for art’s sake. This flash mob came, saw, sketched and conquered the hearts and minds of all in her path.

The Flash Sketch Mob was the featured event of the 7th annual Art Walk, a project produced by the Friends of the Nyacks and business owner Paulette Ross.

This year the arts event converted 24 local businesses into artist occupied galleries. That creativity overflowed into the street as a Flash Sketch Mob, leaving a cornucopia of content in its wake.

Nyack multimedia artist Kris Burns collected and compiled the cumulative works into an evening public projection on a blank wall near the corner of High Avenue and North Broadway.

It was a day when Nyack publicly declared its love for the arts, and Nyack families enjoyed the display. Amateurs and professionals worked side-by-side to create a handmade visual record of the village.

The Flash Sketch Mob was made possible through the support of the Village of Nyack and several not-for-profit organizations, businesses and volunteers. “It took a village,” said Kim Cross, Executive Director of Nyack Center and an early supporter of the project.

The flash mob left behind a mountain of drawings, paintings, photos, video and writing to sort through. The group’s short-term goal is to present all of the work in a coherent platform as release of a digital slide show of the art produced on the 16, the creation of a digital map and a date for an encore projection of the work on the side of a building in Nyack.

Bill Batson can be found sketching at the farmers’ market in Nyack, Thursdays, 9-2, next to “Pie Lady and Son.”

Nyack Center Photo Courtesy of Dr. Arnold Roufa. Writing by Artist Bill Batson, abbreviated by Carolyn Johnson.