6. The Arts Students League’s Original Home was at 108 Fifth Avenue at 16th Street

On June 2nd, 1875, the Arts Students League was founded by a group of students and instructor Lemeul Wilmarth, who were  dissatisfied with the traditional teaching at the National Academy of Design. The all-volunteer organization rented a single 20×30 foot room in the mansard roof of 108 Fifth Avenue, a four floor building at the corner of 16th Street, to hold life drawing classes modeled on the practices of a Parisian atelier with natural light flowing in from the skylights above.

The students paid a tuition of $5 a month, but also volunteered to do organizational and maintenance tasks. A Board of Control was founded to govern the new organization. Within two years, the curriculum was expanded to include portraiture, sketch classes, composition classes, as well as lectures on anatomy and perspective. The Arts Students League would move to 38 West 14th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues in 1882, to 143-147 East 23rd Street in 1887, and finally to its current home at 215 W 57th Street in 1892. Many of the studios today still have large windows to allow in light, such as the sculpture studio above.