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The Sexiest Art Class You'll Ever Go To

Photos courtesy of Jon Weiand

What actually makes a party a good party? Usually it’s the music, or the crowd, or the price of the alcohol. At Public Works, they’ve added an even more dynamic, engaging element to the mix: creativity. That, and a suggestion of nudity. Which makes it a really good party.

Public Works has been up and running for over a year, and in that short time, it has already thrown some memorable parties at their location on Erie Street in the Mission. The club has a clear emphasis on fusing the arts with San Francisco’s social scene, so it’s no wonder that a group of San Francisco artists called The Cultivation Collective have put together a recurring figure drawing party at Public Works, appropriately named Undressed.

A figure drawing party = figure drawing (like the class you would take in any art school) + party. “There’s a much different energy here than your typical figure drawing class,” Jason Cohen told me with a laugh. Jason is a resident artist at Public Works, and one of the main organizers behind the event. With music spun by local DJs in the background and beer bottles mixed in with art supplies, models hold poses for 1, 5, or even as long as 20 minutes, so that guests of the party can sketch, chat, and have a good time.

The party is BYOAS: Bring Your Own Art Supplies. I went last Thursday, and watched artists work with markers, pens, charcoal, and even laptops for their sketching. The theme of the night was Undressed in the Jungle; there was an Adam and Eve pairing, and a girl painted like a leopard. The models aren’t nude, but they’re pretty damn close to it. (Since it’s a bar that serves alcohol, and isn’t permitted as a strip club, the models are prohibited from going the full monty).

Keenan Brown, a member of The Cultivation Collective and one of the organizers, called it “the sexiest drawing class you’ll ever go to.” I’d have to agree: it was definitely sexy. “Here you have more to do than just stand around at a bar like most other parties,” Keenan continued. “You can draw, or you can watch and not be a creep, and just take in all the visual stimulation.”

It was surprisingly non-creepy to stand around and watch scantily-clad people pose and have other people draw them. It was actually fun. Public Works, with its gorgeous lay-out, gives the event broad appeal to artists and non-artists alike.

Iris Alden, another resident artist at Public Works, was encouraged by how attendees have been responding to Undressed. “It’s really affirming to see all these people in here working with so much focus,” Iris said. “It’s a reminder that all these faces you see on the street are interested in being creative and expressing themselves.”

Undressed will be held monthly at Public Works, located at 161 Erie Street. There is no set date yet for November’s event, but check the Public Works Calendar or else The Cultivation Collective’s Facebook page for info on the next Undressed party.