The thINK / Big Draw Drawing Festival 2013

In Oct 2013, I launched thiNK, a free week-long drawing festival for people of all ages as part of the Campaign For Drawing’s international BIG DRAW Festival.  The thINK Festival was held in a large vacant shop space we dubbed The Thinkubator, in the middle of the Channel Court Shopping Centre, in Kingston, Tas.

The thINK Festival was based around a creative drawing process I conceived of in early 2013, in which participants use interactive, collaborative drawing games to explore how our brains make connections while linemaking.  Participants could spend a full day immersed in drawing games & puzzles designed to help them think & draw in new ways.  They were encouraged to add to each other’s ideas in the process, and learn from each other as they drew. Even the tables were offered as drawing surfaces, and were covered in fresh blank paper each day.

In the lead up to the festival, I advertised a Weekly Drawing Challenge, inviting children to choose 4 Doodlebits (see below) and incorporate these elements into their drawings, however they liked. Montello Primary School (Burnie, Nth Tas), where I had recently completed an artist residency, submitted 44 entries!

Days 1 & 4 were open to 8 – 12 yr olds, with quite a few parents also joining in. Day 2 was for 12+ yrs.

Day 3 was an open drawing space for children ages 0-7. Tables were lowered to floor level, a variety of age appropriate drawing materials were on hand, and large shapes to draw in, around and on were placed around the room. Parents stayed and joined in. The results were colourful, explorative and prolific. Many parents commented about the importance of having a space like this for young children to explore and have fun with no pressure on producing a “drawing of something”.

As part of the 2013 festival, participants also created interconnected A4 panels to add to the Brain Tree, a large evolving drawing / mural that featured on one of the walls of the space.  The festival culminated in an exhibition of drawings created during the week, as well as interactive areas where visitors could create more drawings to add to the exhibit.

Thanks to a Tasmanian Regional Arts grant, the week was documented by Rogan Brown from FilmWorks Tasmania, and made into a wonderful short film, which was also on display at the exhibition.  Rogan’s film features a time-lapse of the Brain Tree mural’s evolution to completion.

Several sponsors made significant contributions to the event: Channel Court Shopping Centre, Artery Art Supplies, Kingborough Council, Tas Regional Arts, Australian Govt Regional Arts Fund, Kingborough Chronicle, Colour Copy Centre, Windmill, Tarremah Steiner School, FILMWORKS Tasmania. And none of it would have been possible without the astute guidance and tireless input of Event Manager Jane Brown.