The Big Draw Newcastle 2013
The Big Draw is the world’s biggest celebration of drawing and it has grown into a month-long festival running throughout October all over the UK. Every year more people across the world join in Big Draw events and in mid summer 2013 Newcastle, Australia gave it a go.
Newcastle’s Big Draw brought together seven service units from The City of Newcastle Council, as well as, the Maritime Centre (museum), a local business improvement association called Livesites NOW and the University of Newcastle’s Design and Illustration Faculties; plus individual artists and educators. The result was a fun day of drawing for families, adults and children aimed at eradicating the phrase ‘I can’t draw’ from people’s vocabularies.
This one day event stretched from Newcastle Harbour across the City’s cultural precinct finishing at the Art Gallery. Participants were encouraged to walk between locations and try a variety of drawing activities from the simple drawing a pirate treasure map with Captain Luke ‘n Silly to the more complex large scale stop motion production and animation techniques.
Popular children’s author and the Australian Children’s Laureate, Alison Lester, spent the day at the City Library with hundreds of enthusiastic fans lining up to get their books signed and show her drawings they had created of ‘their place’ to include in her next book.
The project employed many local artists and educators who ran outdoor drawing activities in the park and market square and used the opportunity to further enhance their professional skills. Activities here ranged from the quirky get your portrait drawn on a bus ticket, to the abstract draw the tempo of music while listening to old surf songs, with many of them collaborative artworks that evolved throughout the day.
The local youth arts organisation used ribbons and string to create a larger than life spider web of colour through the park while the University’s Natural History Illustration students spent a ‘night at the museum’ during their 24hour draw-a-thon!
The idea to hold a Big Draw event in Newcastle came about when UK born artists Liz Anelli, who had been living in Newcastle for one year, approached the Director of the Museum to suggest such an event. Liz had facilitated many Big Draws in the UK including a British Council sponsored event at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
Here’s what of few of the project partners had to say about Newcastle’s Big Draw:
“It is great to see these public spaces come to life and delivering on the ‘play’ element of our vision of ‘live, work and play’ in the Newcastle city centre.”
Director Future City
The City of Newcastle
“The Big draw was a wonderful event for the whole community. It enabled academics from the University of Newcastle who are interested in drawing as both a practice and as a means of social research to engage with the wider community. Staff from Design and other disciplines joined the activities and on the day the centre of Newcastle was alive with creative talent. The big draw runs events all over the world and Liz Anelli has coordinated many of them but this was one of the best - lets do it again!”
Professor Mario Minichiello
The University of Newcastle
“We were thrilled with our Big Draw event. Gallery educators pushed the definition of drawing by using stop motion production and animation techniques on a huge scale. We started off with inspiration from significant works from the Collection - artists like Brett Whiteley, David Aspden and Tony Tuckson for example. Then our Gallery educators, with the help of over 500 members of the general public, guided our stop motion project through an evolution of all these fantastic works of art.”
Lauren van Katwyk
Audience Development & Visitor Services Coordinator
Newcastle Art Gallery
“The Big Draw was wonderful as it was such an accessible and welcoming event for a broad audience of all ages and interests. Visitors clearly enjoyed the variety of creative and fun things to do on the day and brought a buzz of positive energy to the Museum. It was a pleasure to work with our cultural partners to share the planning and coordination of the day. We hope it will turn into a significant annual event. ”
Public Programs & Visitor Services Manager
*The first Big Draw began as a one day event held in the UK in October 2000 run by an independent charity known as The Campaign for Drawing. This charity works to raise the profile of drawing and promotes it as a tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. More information at www.campaignfordrawing.org