In response to queries about how and why I work the way I do, I’ll demonstrate by showing you the first stage of engaging the community while creating work for the touring Mind Drawing Children’s Stories (currently at Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy).
As a result of the FUSION Unconference Arts networking event, I was invited to be the Burrinja “Kids’ Zone” artist for Autumn. For this role I was paid to develop and install an activity to creatively occupy children while their parents were looking at exhibitions in the gallery, or for families to do together.
I devised an activity inspired by the response from visitors at the Upper Beaconsfield Festival to a 5′ x 3′ laminated enlargement of my commissioned Mind Drawing, The Friendship Tree, and jewellery derived from the work.
I was delighted to observe families interacting together and seeking images from the jewellery within the big picture on the wall. So I created sets of twenty laminated cards with icons from the drawing. As colouring in is a sought activity in the Kids’ Zone, I also presented line drawings of segments of the big laminated picture
Burrinja Cultural Centre is filled with many opportunities to experience the arts, but often people are unaware of what is available and too shy to explore. One of the core values of my Mind Drawing practice is to make art accessible to the everyday person, so I came up with the idea of adding a treasure hunt to my activity, to encourage participants to follow the number clues and discover features of the facility, such as artists’ studios, theatre, activity rooms and exhibition spaces.
If you have a treasure hunt, you need an end point; and that was me!
Seekers found the artist at work, drawing and taking photos to use to make a ‘creation animation’.
During my residency, I was invited to engage audiences before the theatre shows, 10,000 Miles and They Saw a Thylacine. In response to their interest, I talked about Mind Drawing and differences in how we see with patrons after the performances, too. Many people returned with friends and family to find out if they saw the same way.
By inserting myself into the pop-up treasure hunt, I created an opportunity to talk with visitors about my art, and also to promote the Mind Drawing Children’s Stories touring exhibition.
Sometimes I set up my drawing spot within easy reach, and on other occasions I used all twenty number clues to highlight another area of the cultural centre.
I also had the opportunity to respond to community interest by including the opportunity to participate in the creation of a collaborative drawing to be exhibited along with my body of work. Participants were thrilled that their marks will be seen by communities across the state, in Port Fairy.
And many remarked that it will be interesting to see if there are differences or similarities between the collaborative drawings produced at other venues.