A message from The Big Draw Director, Kate Mason on The Big Draw Festival Theme: Drawn To Life:
"This year our Festival theme will invite event organisers to celebrate and explore the benefits of being actively creative to make positive change and improve wellbeing.
This positive impact could be for an individual, group or even an entire community, bringing people together to help champion the ever increasing evidence, both anecdotal and academic, that a more creative life really can improve your health. (Take a look at our blog for interview and reasearch pieces throughout 2019).
This year ‘Drawn to Life: creativity and wellbeing’ we want to encourage events and conversations around the role of mark making and drawing – in its widest possible interpretation, as a life-enhancing tool not only to help express and navigate the challenges of life around us but also as a tool for healing.
In this significant year, as we join with organisations worldwide to celebrate the bicentenary of John Ruskin's birth, another of The Big Draw's main programmes is celebrating the legacies of John Ruskin through our national contemporary art prize The John Ruskin Prize.
John Ruskin - The founder of The Guild of St. George, who in turn founded The Big Draw in 2000, famously said: 'Drawing helps us see the world more clearly' inspires our own mantra around the power of really ‘seeing’ – not just looking. Slowing down and aligning the mind and body encourages a healing meditative state which in turn opens up new ways of thinking.
Drawing, making marks in whatever medium or format – is the only truly universal language, something we champion in our Manifesto which you can see here.
As a non-verbal language, drawing has a power to transmute and evolve, adapting to each maker’s need to find a voice, meaning expression and empowerment are unsurpassable. For many it plays a key role in recovery in illness, health challenges, anxiety and times of major upheaval, loss and change. For others it can help them re-connect with a community, combat loneliness and the sense of isolation.
We have some inspirational patrons, ambassadors and advocates who will join with you - The Big Draw Festival Co-Creators to demonstrate the vital message of #DrawntoLife in every corner of the globe.
Thank you and we can't wait to see how this year's theme will inspire Big Draw Festival event organisers all over the world. We hope you will join us!"
Director, The Big Draw
We take this opportunity, as we announce The Big Draw Festival 2019 theme: Drawn To Life to proudly introduce you to our newest ambassador - artist and mental health advocate Liz Atkin:
"....Drawing is one of my greatest tools for recovery and I carry a small piece of charcoal in my pocket, so I can draw wherever I am. Drawing has helped me to channel the tense and uncomfortable energy of my compulsive skin picking disorder and anxiety into something mindful and creative, each and every mark on the paper is a moment to refocus my fingers and relax....
...The more I draw the more I want to inspire others to draw too. Give yourself permission to give it a go and have fun - by exploring, experimenting, taking a risk, drawing might take you in an unexpected direction, or not turn out how you want or expect, but that’s ok. You can always try again. I have seen time and again how people who don’t think they can draw can get lost in the pleasure of mark making. I think it’s important to invite people to be playful, relaxed and in the moment with the materials.
Everyone can draw.
I’m so excited to be an Ambassador for The 2019 Big Draw Festival – thank you for having me! I am living, breathing evidence of the transformative power of drawing and The Big Draw's mission, I hope together we can convince you all to get involved in 2019".
Liz Atkin, artist, mental health awareness advocate and Big Draw Amabassador, 2019
[Liz creating #CompulsiveCharcoal drawings in Singapore for the M1 Fringe Festival 2017.]
Read the full interview with Liz on The Big Draw Blog here.
Read more on becoming a Big Draw Festival Organiser in 2019 here
2019 Registration is now open to become a Big Draw Festival Organiser! Sign up here.