Whether you are someone recovering from an illness, a child learning to express themselves, a young person trying to get their first job, an individual in an isolated community or someone suffering with mental illness, drawing helps transform lives in so many different ways. As the first universal language drawing enables us to understand ourselves and the immediate world we live in. The gesture of drawing is one of our most innate instinctive communication skills.
In an age of selfies and snaps, constant online connectivity and shorter and shorter attention spans it has never been more important to take a moment to pause and spend time looking to understand the world around us, and drawing forces us all to do just that. As John Ruskin said ‘Drawing is a means of obtaining and communicating knowledge.’
The Big Draw is an independent arts education charity with a simple mission – to get everyone to draw. We are the orchestrator and driving force behind The Big Draw Festival – the world’s largest celebration of drawing in all its guises – which take place in October each year (and attracts more participants than the Glastonbury music festival!). In addition we run the John Ruskin Prize, now in its 4th year, which in that short time has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting and challenging multi-disciplinary art prizes in the UK.
The people who benefit from our work come from all over the UK, from all areas of society and from every age group, and include refugees and disabled people. Complementing our two core outputs we work alongside cultural and educational organisations, policymakers and key corporate partners to consistently demonstrate the social, economic and health benefits that drawing can bring as well as the unique engagement opportunities for wide reaching access across a number of audiences.
The myriad events that make up The Big Draw Festival take place in a wide range of locations - schools, libraries, community centres, prisons, outdoor public squares, museums and galleries. Our Big Draw Awards Ceremony takes place annually to celebrate the best of the Festival.
We also run the John Ruskin Prize with an exhibition and private view, have an academic conference and a number of other symposia and other events to reach out and engage with communities about the power of drawing.