Intergenerational Drawing Events Support Creative Free Play & Community Connections

Community Drawing Events Inspire Creative Free Play and Self Expression

Creative free play and artistic expression are the focus of two very unique upcoming community events. Using drawing as a central element, these events illuminate the versatility and expressive potential of the art form. Accessible to self-identified artists, reluctant creators, and everyone in between, spring’s artistic opportunities offer rich community-based learning opportunities relating to creativity and self-expression. 


In Easthampton, SHOW Circus Studio hosts Circus Sketch Lab, an ongoing project offering multiple opportunities for the public to engage in sketching and gestural drawing of a unique set of models: circus performers. Using the tools available, trained circus performers will serve as models for an audience of artists, exploring the form and figure unique to the motions of circus performance. During Circus Sketch Lab’s community events, performers will serve as models while also working to create a new performance – thus exposing vulnerabilities and allowing the audience to witness (and create from) their own creative process.

Circus Sketch Lab’s community events will take place during Easthampton’s Art Walks from 6-7:30pm on Saturday, April 9th and Saturday, May 14th. Visitors to the studio are welcome to observe and/or sketch during these events, and are also invited to a culminating Sketch Exhibit and Circus Recital on Saturday, June 25th from 4-6pm. The exhibit and recital will share the creative works produced through the unique series through an exhibition of artworks created based on the performers’ practice, as well as a performance of the piece created through work done by the performers during sketching events.

In Shelburne Falls, The Art Garden proudly presents the second annual Hilltown Draw Around on Saturday, April 9th from noon to midnight. Offering something for everyone, the Draw Around is a drawing dream: held in a local gymnasium, the event offers over 4,000 square feet of paper upon which to draw. Through creative, collaborative, and constant art-making for twelve hours straight, Draw Around participants will transform the space into a gigantic artwork filled with surprising and striking creations. Encouraging creative free-play, the Draw Around offers open-ended exploration of expression through a variety of materials. While no liquids (like paint) will make their mark upon the event’s giant canvas, hand-held tools like markers, colored pencils, crayons, stamps, and even some collage materials lend themselves to endless creative possibilities. Community members of all ages and artistic abilities can easily benefit from the open space for self-expression and experimentation that the space affords.

In addition to its open creative space, the Draw Around offers some slightly more structured elements in the form of drawing-based workshops. Highlights of the workshop schedule include mathematical drawing (think Fibonacci and fractals), collaborative drawing, drawing for storytelling, and drawing treasures from the natural world. A drawing-based game show will be held in the evening, and the 2016 model of the fantastic draw-o-matic sketch-generating machine will debut at the Draw Around as well. Unstructured drawing-based activities (other than covering the walls and floor with doodles and sketches) include a prompt wall filled with drawings to be completed, a collaborative recreation of a Robert Strong Woodward painting, a self-portrait wall, a text corner filled with books for blackout poetry and text-based art, and (weather permitting) an outdoor chalk-based community mapping project.

The Draw Around is held as a fundraiser for The Art Garden’s ARTeens program, which offers local teens a space in which to explore creative expression and community engagement while finding direction in their art-making. Admission is pay-what-you-can, and donations of non-perishable food items will be collected at the door for donation to the local food bank. The Draw Around will be held at the Cowell Gymnasium, located at 51 Maple Street in Shelburne Falls.

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