How to set up a Big Draw (Museu Picasso-style)

On Sunday 23 October we celebrated the second annual Big Draw Festival of Drawing, an initiative originally launched in London that explores drawing not only as a creative medium but also as a great form of communication, learning and recreation for people of all ages.

With some 8,500 people attending and 6,500 taking part in 20 workshops in a variety of cultural institutions in the districts of La Ribera, Sant Pere and Santa Caterina, it seems fair to say that the initiative is now well established as an item on the cultural agenda of the city. We would like to thank everyone involved for their wonderfully enthusiastic response, and also the cultural institutions and the people who ran the workshops, without whom Big Draw simply wouldn’t have been possible.

Last year a lot of people asked us what the Big Draw was all about, and this time round the question was: How do you set it up? In this post we will explain our approach and organizational model, which is only one of many possible formats, as you can see from a visit to the website of Big Draw London and the association that organizes it, The Campaign for Drawing.

March: We start working on the Festival of Drawing. This month sees the incorporation of the Technical Director, and the key strategic and organizational decisions are taken at a series of internal meetings to determine the main focus: the conceptual guidelines are laid down, in a balancing act in which both the interests of the project and the available budget are considered, and the scope of the project fixed; the positive and negative feedback from the previous year is gone over with a view to making any necessary changes; the core team and a basic organigram are defined, and a schedule of actions to be taken is worked out, together with a draft budget guidance to ensure that the cost stays in line with the available resources.

April: We approach the various partner institutions. During this month we also start to make contacts with artists, illustrators, designers and so on to explain the project and invite them to take part. Towards the end of April we have the first meetings with the Museum’s Communication team to present them with the draft proposal and give them idea of the content, and start to plan the media campaign, with timetables and actions.

Workshop leaders. Photo: Jordi Mota

May: The main task is to advise the workshop leaders on how to develop their workshops and progressively clarify each of the proposals. We start to work out the jigsaw puzzle of assigning the workshop leaders and their projects to the available spaces. Sometimes the link here is self-evident, but in other cases it can only be resolved later, when the workshop proposals are more developed. Of course, this decision also involves the partner institutions, some of which have their own proposals to put to us this year.

June: The workshop proposals are closed, and each is linked to a physical space. This is a stage when production is mixed with conceptualization, with the artists and the people responsible for the workshop venues working together to adapt the proposals, determine what materials will be needed and estimating the cost. We then go on to review and adjust the budget: this is a key moment for detecting deviations and correcting them, and for preparing the work of the coming months. June is also an important month for working with Communication on the task of defining the image of the festival: holding the briefing and presenting the project to the designer.

July: A part of the team is still busy with the production of the workshops while the other drafts the texts for the communication material. On the basis of the explanatory texts provided by the workshop leaders, the texts are written for each specific communication format (flyers, posters, programme, press release or website, for example), and these are then given to the workshop leaders and partner institutions for their approval.

Preparing for the Big Draw. Photos: Conxa Rodà

August: This tends to be a slack month, with a lot of the people involved in the project away on holiday. However, we try to share out tasks and holidays so as to keep track of those aspects that have not been fully resolved.

September: With the holidays over, we start on the home stretch of the Big Draw! During this month we have to settle the technical requirements of each workshop, the budgets and the administrative schedules. We contact the docents who will assist the workshop leaders and bring in any other external personnel that may be needed. In terms of communication, this is a very busy month, with advance press releases going out to magazines and other media and production of the print and digital material. With the image now defined, we also get to work on the website.

October: October is, as you can imagine, a very very busy month, but it’s also really exciting! Primarily it’s the month of purchasing materials and setting everything up, hiring personnel and renting equipment and venues, as well as bringing in and training project assistants. It’s also when we focus on the publicity campaign, with actions oriented at both the conventional media and the 2.0 networks. This is a time of nerves and joy, moments of doubt and uncertainty, but above all of impatience to see and experience the project.

Materials. Photo: Isabel Moreno

All of this work comes together on a single day, which starts veeeery early for the Big Draw workshop leaders and helpers; a very long day that somehow just flies past! A day of successes, of emotions, with some triumphs and some failures, with anxiety about the weather (late October, so what can you expect?) but with a very positive overall impression that now in November we go over in detail and analyse, collecting the views and opinions of visitors, participants and helpers and drawing up our report.

Aware as we are of the danger of leaving someone out, and apologizing in advance, we would like to thank some of the key people involved in the project: Bárbara Piffre, technical director; Mercè García, director of production; the Museu Picasso’s Public Programmes team, who also act as Big Draw area leaders: Maria Alcover, Marta Iglesias and Vanesa Rojas; the Communication team: Manuel Baena and Ari Rimbau; Cristina Martín and Conxa Rodà of the Museum’s 2.0 team; Mònica Franco, head of production; Virginie Gorzerin, docent coordinator; Montse Morales, project advisor; Salah Malouli, area leader, and Teo Sanclemente, support. We also want to give a big thanks — for their dedication, enthusiasm, comradeship and excellent work — to all of the workshop leaders, the staff of the partner institutions and the docents and helpers who are so essential to the success of the Festival of Drawing.

Anna Guarro
Head of Public Programmes

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