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Art on the Square

Art on the Square

On Sunday 26 September, London plays host to an exciting and innovative event, inspiring creativity on a mass scale. Art on the Square: Join the Party mixes a rich palette of free activities and events, bringing together leading London galleries and artists with budding enthusiasts of all ages in a day that everyone can share.

Launching its new series of Rolf on Art, live from Trafalgar Square on 26 September, the BBC in collaboration with the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and The Campaign for Drawing's Big Draw will encourage and celebrate art in its many forms. The day-long event will be the finale in the Mayor's programme of summer activities in Trafalgar Square.

Art on the Square also marks the national launch of The Big Draw 2004. This
- The Campaign for Drawing's annual centrepiece - is now the biggest free art event in the UK. In a carnival atmosphere, leading artists, architects, illustrators, cartoonists, dancers and unicyclists will join forces in a drive to get the nation drawing. The Campaign has encouraged almost a million people back to the drawing board so far, and this October they're aiming for a thousand drawing events nationwide.

Rolf Harris is just one of the many well-known faces and artists who will be inspiring visitors at the day-long event, and he is looking forward to one of his greatest art challenges yet. Rolf will be leading hundreds of professional and amateur artists, young and old, as they aim to recreate one of the country's best loved paintings - John Constable's The Hay Wain - on a giant scale. BBC ONE's Rolf on Art - The Big Event will be following their progress throughout the day, culminating in a live broadcast and final unveiling of the painting in the evening.

Rolf is relishing the prospect. "Art on the Square will show just how creative we can all be and prove that art is something for everyone to enjoy in one way or another. All you need is passion and inspiration, and I hope that through this event we will pass that on to the thousands who visit Trafalgar Square and to the viewers watching at home. I can't wait to join artists of all styles to work on one of the most ambitious paintings I have ever attempted in my career."

Also joining the party will be Quentin Blake, patron of The Campaign for Drawing and one of Britain's best-loved illustrators. He'll be leading a parade of drawing-powered activities for people of all ages and skills. "With The Big Draw we seem to have struck something in the national consciousness - it's as though everybody is waiting to be told that they are allowed to draw." For him, drawing is something beyond art: "If you work with words and pictures, you find that there are hundreds of things for which drawing is wonderfully economical and efficient - from physical likeness to how a deck-chair works (or collapses). For me, it's information with feeling".

Around the Square there will be plenty of opportunities for visitors to try new things and to gain inspiration from the Masters. At the National Portrait Gallery there will be a range of activities for visitors young and old throughout the day, including 'Talk and Draw' sessions in the galleries, film showings in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre and silhouette-drawing workshops. Visitors to the Portrait Café and Restaurant can also enter a competition, using their drawing skills to design their own placemat.

For the first time, the National Gallery will throw open the doors to its new Getty Entrance offering Art on the Square partygoers the most spectacular route into the Gallery's magnificent collection of western art, which includes the original version of The Hay Wain. After walking through a beautiful light-bathed court with its information point, cafe and shop, visitors will go up a dramatic staircase to some of the world's most famous paintings. To celebrate Art on the Square and this major new building work, the Gallery will be open until 9.00pm and will be hosting a drawing demonstration by Quentin Blake, painting workshops for all ages and themed
guided talks throughout the day.

Mayor Ken Livingstone said: 'This year's Trafalgar Square Summer programme is the best yet and Art on the Square will be a wonderful finale. Whether you are a practising artist, or just want to have a go, it will be a great day out for all ages, and I hope it will break down some of the mystique surrounding art.'


Don't Miss:
Russian landscape in the age of Tolstoy
23 June - 12 September
Half price tickets Wednesdays 6-9pm plus live music & bar

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