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The Campaign for Drawing … The Big Draw!

The Campaign for Drawing is an arts education charity with one aim: to get everyone drawing! Why? Drawing helps us to think, invent and communicate – regardless of age and ability. The campaign’s flagship programme is called The Big Draw. It aims to bring communities together in creative ways.

The Big Draw

Launched as a one day event in 2000, The Big Draw is now an annual, month-long celebration of drawing and its power to connect people of all ages with their surroundings and the wider community. It is now the largest drawing festival in the world. Every October, thousands of participatory drawing events are held in schools, museums, galleries, heritage and community sites, libraries, hospitals and other places through Britain and, increasingly, in other countries. Last year 22 countries joined the UK in organising events.

The aims are to strengthen the national profile of drawing and to advocate its wider use as an effective tool for learning and engagement. Big Draw events attract new audiences to museums and cultural sites, create an enjoyable focus for school or community activity, and bring different generations or audiences together.

Big Draw activities show how drawing can be used to connect visitors with our cultural heritage, natural or built environment – and each other. 

The Big Draw and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC)

As one of its registered partners, NMMC supports the aims and values of the Big Draw initiative through a major weekend of creative workshops led by artists from an eclectic range of artistic traditions, including sculpture, textiles and fine art, supported by our award winning team of education volunteers. This year was our biggest, most ambitious and most successful yet. Over 700 children and adults took part in activities across the whole Museum, all of which used sketching and drawing as their starting point. Activities included:

Textile ‘fish skin’ artist sketch books. These beautiful, richly textured sketch books were inspired by a concurrent exhibition of textile-based work by Textile Plus, a group of 15 local Cornish artists, who took their inspiration from Falmouth’s maritime history. Their exhibition, called On the Waterfront, combined a large-scale installation based on colours representing the sea, sky and countryside, with individual works inspired by boats of every shape and size, people past and present and the history and architecture of Falmouth. Members of the Textile Plus group helped children and adults explore the displayed work, and their own creative process through sketch books. Children then designed and made their own artist sketch books.

Boat sculptures in clay. Working with ceramic artist Lesley Newman, children looked at the shapes and lines of boats from all around the world before making their own clay boat designs as part of a ‘river; of small sculptures meandering through the main hall.

Still life sketches inspired by the ‘curious’ artefacts in the Museum’s Old Curiosity Shop display. Participants were challenged to create their own ‘cabinet of curiosities’, following a specially designed ‘find and draw’ trail around the Museum.

The Big Draw forms an integral part of the Maritime Museum’s popular and award winning family learning programme. To find out more click here.

To find out more about the Campaign for Drawing, click here.

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