Sunday Sketch – My Ten Favorite Indoor Places to Sketch in the the Twin Cities

Twin Cities sketchers, cooped up for months can rejoice that the brutal winter of 2013-14 is over. The bad news is we still face at least a month of cold, damp spring weather. So today’s post is about ten of my favorite interior places to sketch in the Twin Cities. Missing from this list are buildings that I am saving for future posts that are both sketch-able inside and out – The churches, the Capitol, Landmark Center and some others. I am also saving coffee shops for another post.  Coffee shops are awesome for sketching.

Here is my list in no special order. If you have more favorite interior Twin Cities sketching venues, please leave a comment about it.

#1 The Union Depot: The Union Depot in Saint Paul is a gorgeous building. There is plenty of room for sketchers to sit and sketch.  Sketching the interior is a challenge. Sunlight streams in through arched windows and registers (sideways skylights on the roof) and the light changes from hour to hour, reflecting off of marble walls and the polished floor. The huge scale of the building is a challenge. As more transportation lines such as the Metro Transit Green Line and Amtrak’s Empire Builder add The Union Depot to their list of destinations, there will be more opportunities to capture the drama of passengers coming and going. Nearly every week, there are events that draw crowds of people to the Union Depot. The MetroSketchers have a sketch-out planned for the Union Depot April 6th. The following Union Depot waiting room sketches are by Roberta Avidor and myself (click on the sketches to make them bigger):



#2 The Minnesota History Center: The Minnesota Historical Society’s big building overlooking Downtown Saint Paul has a a bunch of old artifacts to draw. Special events with costumed history re-enactors are always fun to sketch. Two History Center sketches from my journal:



#3 The Science Museum of Minnesota: Lots of exhibits and people to sketch at the SMM. Great views of the Mississippi River. Two of my sketches:

3_ssm_dino 3a_sMM

#4 The Bell Museum. The classic art deco style building on the University of Minnesota campus has many awesome diorama paintings by Minnesota wildlife artist Francis Lee Jaques. Get inspired by the diorama art and special guest artists and create your own masterpieces at the Bell Museum’s sketch nights. Two sketches, one of awesome Chicago artist Don Colley and some dead birds in drawers:



#5 The Como Conservatory: Always a fun place to sketch plants and people. Watch this KARE 11 report on MetroSketchers at the Conservatory.



#6 The Foshay Museum:  I like weird little museums with odd artifacts to draw. The Foshay Building, once the tallest building in Downtown Minneapolis skyline has a bizarre, checkered past rooted in a notorious Ponzi scheme. The Foshay museum is fun to draw even when the weather doesn’t permit  venturing out on to the observation deck.


#7 The Firefighters Hall and Museum: The Bill and Bonnie Daniels Firefighters Hall and Museum located in Northeast Minneapolis is another small museum chock full of firefighter vehicles, equipment and regalia. An opportunity for the sketcher to use lots of bright red.


#8  The Ramsey Courthouse and St. Paul City Hall: An Art Deco masterpiece with lots of stuff to sketch like the humongous Carl Milles “Vision of Peace” sculpture. There’s a law library on the top floor with amazing views of Saint Paul on all four sides of the building.


#9 The Saint Paul Central Library: A lot of cozy, columned rooms with passive patrons engrossed in newspapers and books. The library sometimes hosts special events with musicians and people in costumes. Lots of great views through big, arched windows. The first sketch of the Klondike Kates is by me and the next sketch of the District Energy power plant was sketched through the library window by Andy Singer:



#10 St. Paul Police Department Western District Museum: Another  little museum in the Midway area. The collection has a small number of law enforcement vehicles including an old paddy wagon and a uniformed police mannequin riding an old safety bicycle. Fun!





Ken Avidor

About Ken Avidor

Ken Avidor is an illustrator, cartoonist and occasional courtroom sketch artist. Ken Avidor is an active urban sketcher and maintains a daily, illustrated journal. Ken is married to urban cartographer and talented sketch artist Roberta Avidor in the Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul. Follow Ken and Roberta's sketching/bicycling adventures on their travel blog.