Hey kid, you want to be in art classes — naked, unmoving, magnanimously muse-like — and get paid for it? Let me show you the way. To ease your mind, take it from someone who’s been through it a few times: Art modeling is one of the most charmingly asexual enterprises ever. Unlike, for example, an unremarkable walk down a city street, no one looks at you with possessive lechery and cruelty. Here’s a rundown of the major New York art schools (all Brooklyn-accessible!) that will pay you, how much you’ll get paid — what you should expect from the experience.
WHERE TO GO
Art Students League: 215 West 57th St., Manhattan, (212) 247-4510; $13/hr (up from $12 last year; what a boon!). Here, you’ll have to commit to anywhere from a week-long class to multiple weeks-long classes, which consist of short poses (2-20 minutes) and long poses (up to several hours both standing and sitting, with with five-minute breaks every 20 minutes).
New York Studio School: 8 West 8th Street, Manhattan, (212) 673-6466; $14/hr sitting; $15.50 standing. At NYSS, you can sign up for a single class or devote yourself to a many months-long class meeting five days a week. Here, you may work with a few short poses but mostly long poses. There’s more standing than sitting.
Pratt Institute: 200 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn, (718) 636-3600; $15-22. Poses are up to the predilections of individual teachers, but are usually variations on short or long poses for multiple weeks.
Craigslist: Ah, the unknowable internet. Under Community choose Artists or under Gigs choose Creative or Talent. I have made between $10 and $300 through all variants of Craigslist engagements. Follow the general rules for anything on Craigslist: Play it safe! Think smart, trust yourself if a situation seems sketchier than it should be.
HOW TO BEGIN
Enrollment is generally once a semester but—as in everything—these things can be finagled. To sign up: Call the schools and ask to speak with the model coordinator or just go in person (with an I.D. and social security card).
WHAT TO BRING
A shawl to conceal your naked form during breaks, (non-alcoholic) drink and foodstuffs for reviving, classical artwork for posing inspiration, verve and oomph.
A note on shame: You have some! You’ve been unhealthily raised to dualistically divide your mind from body and here are the repercussions: You don’t want to make some cold, hard cash for your sweet, not-necessarily-hard form. Art modeling is respectful and fun. Every session contains one person acting as a time-keeper (usually a kind, maternal older woman) who makes sure your poses don’t run too long. Your first time art modeling might prove nerve-wracking but remember: your body is being somewhat impersonally admired from an appreciable distance by kindly (usually elder) gents and ladies. It’s a great icebreaker-to-life for the shy. If anything, concentrate on a spot on the wall, mentally run through your daily activities, to-do lists, play fun mnemonic games and breathe.