Northampton Draws: a Festival that Takes the Community beyond Pen and Paper

The first ever Northampton Draws festival takes place today, and you’re invited to join in.  The event is a chance to “broaden the spectrum” of what art can mean, said Amanda Hill, assistant director of Northampton Center for the Arts, which is launching the event. Hill came up with the idea for this free, interactive festival because festivals with similar motives, such as the Big Draw in the United Kingdom, have been occurring all around the world.  She said that she “wanted to bring to Northampton something different that it hasn’t seen before.”

Participants of all ages will have the chance to explore territory beyond pen and paper. There will be workshops in three locations of Northampton that will all take place from 12pm to 4pm and will demonstrate how to make use of materials in unexpected ways.

At the Northampton Center for the Arts will be “Paper Mosaics” with Robert Markey, who has created community mosaic projects in countries around the globe, including Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia and Brazil; “Drawing with Yarn” with Deborah Jane Slavitt, who teaches fabric crafts classes at Materials for the Arts in New York City; as well as “Free Draw” where people can follow any whim they wish.

“Make your own Drawing Tool” and “Drawing Fragments” will take place in the Dynamite Space at Thornes Marketplace. “Make your own Drawing Tool,” will utilize sticks, wires and other materials with the potential for unique mark-making under the guidance of Carolyn Clayton, who received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in sculpture, installation and site-specific work from Carnegie Mellon University. David Shapleigh, who teaches Drawing, Painting and 2-D Design at Westfield State College, will lead “Drawing Fragments,” where participants can use small scraps of drawings to create new works of art.

“Tape Art” with Michael Townsend, will take place in the Pedestrian Area behind Thornes Marketplace, where participants can cover walls in murals made of tape.  Townsend has dedicated the past 23 years of his life to tape art, making murals on a variety of buildings including the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Worcester Art Museum and General Electric.

Hill said she hopes the event will allow people to look at drawing in a different light and realize that “mark-making can traverse many mediums.” She said that people may differ on which medium expresses them best, but that everyone can draw. “It’s such a simple and r

elatable activity that I hope will bring the community together.”

Photos of the final pieces from the festival will be posted on the Facebook page of Northampton Center for the Arts.

Northampton Draws is sponsored by the United Bank Foundation and the Northampton BID. It is produced by the Northampton Center for the Arts in cooperation with the City of Northampton and Thornes Marketplace.