The Big Draw Festival 2018: Play has been bringing people around the globe back to the drawing board for some weeks now! Whilst some Festival organisers are still preparing the finishing touches for their upcoming events, and others are now kicking their feet up, we were lucky enough to steal a few moments with Laurie Cluitman, curator for contemporary art and 'The Line Up' exhibition at Centraal Museum just in time before the Museum's final Big Draw workshop!
Could you tell us a little bit about Centraal Museum, it’s history and your work within the Museum?
The Centraal Museum is the oldest City Museum in the Netherlands. Besides a design collection, the museum has amongst others the largest Rietveld and Droog collection in the world; there is the modern and contemporary collection, old art, history and fashion. Furthermore, the Miffy Museum and Rietveld Schröder House are part of the museum. As curator I am responsible for the exhibitions with contemporary artists and the contemporary art collection.
Centraal Museum has a fantastic exhibition on currently entitled ‘The Line Up’. The exhibition emphasises the importance of drawing for the method and the process involved, not for the end result. We believe that drawing can be life changing; it's an amazing tool for communication, creativity and expression. On top of this, we believe that everybody can draw! What do you think is the significance of drawing in everyday life? Do you think there is such a thing as a “bad” drawing?
I would definitely agree drawing plays an important role both in art and every day life. Whether it’s a simple scribble to remember, a doodle while making a phone call or a detailed laborious drawing. You could even state that one learns how to write, from an early age on, by scribbling and drawing. There’s maybe not such a thing as a good or a bad drawing, though from the perspective of the museum we wouldn’t call all drawings a successful artwork per se ;-)
On the 25th and 26th, Centraal Museum’s ‘The Big Drawing Workshops’ will involve participants having free reign to wander about ‘The Line Up’ exhibition and sketch. Can you tell us a little bit about the exhibition, and why it will make such a wonderful setting for your Drawing Workshop activities?
The white cube museum space is often associated with the pristine and untouchable. I think it’s quite a remarkable experience to directly draw onto the wall and make your mark, whether you’re six years old or sixty years old. By actively participating, either by only drawing a line or by drawing your own place in the city, you experience the process of drawing but also tend to look differently at the drawings on display. In a way it might also feel a little subversive, something that otherwise would not be accepted in a museum context.
Do you think Museum’s are a good place to draw? Outside of The Big Draw Festival, would you actively encourage visitors to draw when walking around Centraal Museum’s exhibitions?
They’re in any case remarkable places to draw in. In the past we have had many drawing workshops, for adults and children. Participation is an important aspect of what we do in the museum. You can still find school classes drawing in the museum most days!
Here at The Big Draw we believe that art has an incredible power on both mental and physical health. Recent research has found that taking part in creative activities caused a staggering 71% decrease in anxiety, and a 73% fall in depression. Centraal Museum’s ‘Workshop Zentangle’ Big Draw event, on the 21st of October, will be a fantastic opportunity to practice the art of meditation through drawing. Artist Marijke Bruin will guide participants through a relaxed meditative process, to create a wonderful abstract piece of art! Does Centraal Museum believe that art plays an important role in mental health and wellbeing?
We certainly do. The Centraal Museum Utrecht is in co-operation with amongst others the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam participating in workshops for people suffering from Alzheimer, together with their families. Research has found this has a proven positive effect on their and of course also our well-being.
One of the main components of our work at The Big Draw is promoting the influence of visual literacy. We believe that it is crucial to a multitude of industries and disciplines, not just within the visual arts sector. Can you share your views on the benefits of being ‘visually literate’ in one’s everyday life, particularly in a curatorship role?
Being visually literate in a world more and more saturated by images is very important. As a curator of contemporary art, the reading and understanding of the meaning, history and impact of an image is of great importance. In my role as curator I look at these images through the lens of contemporary art, but as a museum we include many different perspectives. For example, we work together with medical and ICT students, who’re using our art to improve their analytical skills. So we do believe that visual literacy can be of help to other industries.
What inspires you to take part in The Big Draw Festival?
The energetic attitude of The Big Drawing Festival is something quite remarkable and something we strive for in this exhibition as well. With more than 105 artists and more than 500 drawings we want to bring across the energy, sheer multitude of options but also a generous attitude towards art, artists and the visitor.
Thank you to Laurie Cluitman, and the team at Centraal Museum!
Interview by: Matilda Barratt
Centraal Museum is one of our Big Draw Festival 2018 Sponsor Partners.
Interested in taking part in their fantastic #Play2018 Big Draw Festival event? We're not surprised! A link to their full programme can be found here.
Interested in visiting a Big Draw Festival event near you this Autumn? Take a look at our Big Draw 2018 events map here, sign up to our localised event alerts here or perhaps you’d like to join our merry band of Big Draw Festival co-creators and organise your very our events?
Visit our Organise an Event page for guidance on getting started.