Press Street’s 24-hour Draw-a-thon is the only event of its kind in the city of New Orleans. It is an art experience in which people are active participants-- not spectators; where the entire premise is to encourage creating for the sake of creating. It is an all-ages, free event that is open to the public with all art materials provided.
Draw-a-thon began in 2006, and since that time has been hosted at the Green Project. But with the amazing expansion that the Green Project has seen over the past year, there is just not enough room for all the Draw-A-Thon drawers (because the Green Project is packed full of drawers - get it?!) So for the first time Draw-a-thon will be held in a new location- the Old Ironworks on Piety Street on November 12, 2011.
Draw-a-thon is a costly venture! A new location means new walls to build, running temporary lighting, and running heaters that keep those drawing fingers nimble - not to mention all of the supplies: pencils, pens, paint, paper, scissors, glue, and drawing pads that are all provided for free to the community. With these tight times we've seen our typical sources of funding sliced in half this year! Rather than scaling back and simply making due, we're asking for your support of any amount so that we can present to you an even bigger and better event in our new home at the Old Ironworks. So please pledge today!
Earlier this year Press Street founder, Anne Gisleson was interviewed by the online Art magazine, Pelican Bomb and had this to say about the beginnings of Draw-A-Thon :
AG: We had no idea, absolutely no idea what to expect. We just wanted to get people together and start drawing.
PB: As an outlet?
AG: As a lot of things…there were many philosophical underpinnings to that first Draw-a-thon in 2006, like how drawing helps you connect to the world around you. We thought about the line and connecting and seeing and the physical act of doing it—a way to connect to other people and to help you connect to things happening. That theme of connection is at the heart of everything we do as an organization.
It started off as Brad Benishek’s fun idea to have a 24-hour marathon of continuous activity with free drawing workshops. We covered the walls of an old warehouse by the railroad tracks with paper, so people could write on them. We didn’t know if it was going to be 25 or 250 people, and the first people who showed up were the National Guard. It was around 6 am, and I don’t know what they came for initially but within minutes they were drawing.
PB: That’s an important image.
AG: It is, because at the time the city still felt embattled. We still had Humvees driving around our neighborhood downtown. When these guys came in with their guns and started drawing, we knew we were onto something. Then families came and, in the middle of the night, you get all kinds of people coming! One of the reasons we consider it our most important event—the most successful thing that we do in terms of community building—is because it brings people in from all over. I think art has the capacity to facilitate dialogue if it’s done right—if it’s done thoughtfully.
The Draw-A-Thon is only made possible with your generous support and contributions from:
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