The Big Draw (2004)

The Big Draw is an epic, inclusive celebration of drawing that embraces 1000 venues and half a million people across the UK every October.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, with whom Start has an ongoing partnership in creating accessible arts activities for Start students, invited Start to take part in their Big Draw initiative in October 2004.

Called ‘Through the Keyhole’, this Whitworth Big Draw project asked members of the public, celebrities, and invited artist groups, to think about a room that inspired them, and make a drawing of it on a postcard.

Postcards were displayed on the walls of the Whitworth café.

The team at Start were keen to encourage Start students to try the ‘Through the Keyhole’ brief. It was an ideal chance to introduce beginners to drawing, with an informal exhibition to contribute our sketches to at the end.

We organised a special day of activities involving drawing by touch, simple mark-making, and an introduction to observational drawing. The resulting 40 images explored the environment at Start through examining interesting or evocative details and textures around the art studios. The drawings are a snapshot of the surroundings at Start, seen close-up.

Here’s some comments about the day:

“I didn’t think I’d like drawing but I really enjoyed myself!”
“ Drawing in this way makes you look at things differently…”
“Drawing’s not as frightening as I thought – I’ve surprised myself today.”

Jill Cunningham and Rachel Cooke, Start Tutors who helped design the Big Draw day say:

“As a team we were very keen to get involved and plan something a bit different. Drawing’s an important part of an art education and it also has benefits for people’s mental well-being.
The concentration involved in drawing demands real focus and good coordination. It’s an excellent way of stimulating lateral thinking and encouraging the habit of looking outward rather than inward, helping students see the world in a different way.”

Staff at the Whitworth commented:

“The drawings are very varied and lively. Start has come up with an innovative approach that will really interest the public.”

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