The Big Draw – Gent


The Big Draw is an international festival with one clear goal: to get everybody drawing, young and old, talented or not. This year it runs from the 1st of October until the 3rd of November in fifteen countries. Ghent organized its own edition last weekend and became the first Belgian city to take part in the festival.


Workshops and expositions flooded the city, but the big eye-catcher of the festival was The Big Window Walk. Somewhat eighty locations in the city center – mostly shops but also some private houses – took part and had an artist come over to draw a piece of art on their window. Some were absurdly funny (the Viking eating veggie food together with an astronaut at the Greenway?) others were impressively big or colorful.

Truth be told, this initiative works best when everyone takes part. Some of the participating streets had only one or two drawings and they tended to get lost. In the Kortedagsteeg on the contrary, almost all shops had a drawing, as if everybody encouraged each other to take part. I, for one, found myself unable to get the smile from my face after leaving the street. Give people positive energy by encouraging them to think and talk about drawing, I think that is the core strength of the Big Draw.


As mentioned before there were also a lot of other, rather small-scale, activities. My sincere apologies for missing the graffiti workshop for elderly (overslept for that one) and for not having the guts to go to the Big Draw Blind Date (what can I say; I’m really bad at drawing and at dating…).  I really enjoyed some small expositions though. The one I liked the most was the beer card exposition in a small bar at the Vrijdagsmarkt. All those cards together seemed like the perfect cross-over between silly drawing and art.

I felt like the whole festival could have been a bit more “in your face” from time to time. If you did not have a clue something was going on in Ghent, you could have easily missed the entire festival. And I don’t know if the grown-ups were always as enthusiastic to take part as the kid were, but was glad to find out that the people from KUNSTWERKT, S.M.A.K. and Circa Gent, who organized everything, were very happy with the attendance (5000 people spread over 120 activities) and are already dreaming about a next edition! Keep up the good work!


By the way, most of the drawings from the Big Window Walk will not be washed out before the end of October, so you can still check those out when in Ghent!

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