Ever heard your child declare in frustration: "I can't
draw!" A dozen years ago, a group in the United Kingdom set out to
abolish that sentence from people's vocabulary. The result was a
festival that now has reached international proportions and that
encourages everyone-young and old-to pick up a pencil (or crayon or
even bicycle wheel) and just get drawing.
This year, for the first time, the festival also will be
held in Chicago. Big Draw Chicago is for drawers and non-drawers of
all ages and will run weekdays/nights and weekends in neighborhoods
across the city throughout October.
"Drawing is such an easy, friendly, nonthreatening way to
engage people. When you put materials in front of them, they'll
start drawing," says Elory Rozner, producer of the Chicago event.
"Drawing is a tool for thinking and self-expression and then
sharing. It's fun to show your work and see others
The month-long event also is designed to bring people into
cultural institutions they might not have visited otherwise. For
example, the Newberry Library, not generally considered a family
destination, is hosting one of the family events.
"Drawing is a wonderful way for them to bring new audiences in,
so it offers cultural institutions something as well as the
participants," Rozner says.
The majority of the events are free and the official
kickoff is 1-4 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Other
events include using wheels on a tricycle to draw at the Chicago
Children's Museum and a family sketch scavenger hunt at the Field
Museum. Different methods of drawing and different tools will be
featured at the various institutions. There are also adults-only
events for parents who want a night out to explore their own
"We're trying to bring people out to institutions to make
informal art and it should be really fun and laidback and not
intimidating," Rozner says.
for program descriptions, dates, locations and participating
organizations and artists. Most programs are drop-in, but a few do
have limited space and require pre-registration.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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