When Cabaret Meets Art Class: Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School

Photos by Groovehouse

The sun is streaming through the windows of an old house on a Sunday afternoon. Inside, the DJ is spinning groovy beats. The bartender is crafting saucy shots and cocktails. And the burlesque model on the floor is naked except for a bustier and some strategically-placed coins. This isn't your average art class: This is Dr. Sketchy.

Every month, artists from around Houston convene at Avant Garden on Westheimer for Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, where -- according to local founder Katie Laird -- "saucy models meet costume-themed boozefests" and artists sketch to their hearts' content. Models range from professional dancers and models to amateurs who simply have a closet full of costumes and the desire to show them off. But they all have one thing in common: They're never boring.

Dr. Sketchy was first founded in 2005 in New York City by Molly Crabapple, a performer and model who had grown weary of traditional "life model" art classes. Crabapple wanted art classes to be fun and funky, cheeky and cheerful -- and Dr. Sketchy was born. The idea quickly spread to other cities, including Houston. From burlesque performers to belly dancers, from fire breathers to martial artists, the models at Dr. Sketchy are always unique and interesting. Adding great beats and booze into the mix only enhances the overall experience.

Monthly art schools cost $10 to attend and feature a variety of costume changes and props, as the models create tableaus for the artists to sketch, such as the starlet who "overdosed" half-naked on a sofa or the ballet dancer who's eager to show off some new moves. And it's not just women strutting their stuff -- Dr. Sketchy has been known to showcase mouthwatering men, too.

All that's required from the artists is that they draw (and drink, if desired) and allow their work to be judged at the end of the session. The model chooses their favorite sketch and the lucky artist gets a prize (and sometimes a paddling, if they've been good). And although it's not required, the more you tip the model, the nuder they're liable to get.

Check out our Best of Burlesque photos from the last few months of Dr. Sketchy and be sure not to miss next month's session, taking place on August 9 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Avant Garden.

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