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The Big Draw continues to draw a crowd in Ruskin

Big Draw planning committee members Karen Olds, Cristina Villagomez, Nina Tatlock, Linda Smith, Sandy Council and Natalie Bisciglia prepare for another arts celebration.

Courtesy of Kathy Straub

Big Draw planning committee members Karen Olds, Cristina Villagomez, Nina Tatlock, Linda Smith, Sandy Council and Natalie Bisciglia prepare for another arts celebration.

RUSKIN — John Ruskin, the English writer, naturalist and namesake of this SouthShore community, coined the term Big Draw because of his interest in art and his love for the way drawing allowed him to connect with nature.

When the city celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, a city leader discovered there was an international celebration honoring the writer called the Big Draw.

Now, the event continues at the Firehouse Cultural Center and in cities all over the world Saturday. Ruskin is one of only six cities in the United States that hosts the artistic experience.

It's noted for drawing families and the community together to experience art firsthand.

"We have been averaging around 300 participants, but we are expecting closer to 400 this year," Firehouse executive director Georgia Vahue said. "This is a free, family-friendly event that anyone at any age can enjoy."

Because it is an international event, the organization has mandated a different theme each year. This year's theme is "Every Picture Tells a Story," which promises to lend itself to a wide variety of diverse and creative projects.

"We provide all the materials for the activities, everything is free," said Sandy Council, president of the Ruskin Community Development Committee. "The volunteers oversee the event, but we have many art instructors and professional artists who teach at the various stations."

There are many activities from which to choose, such as ink blot designs, printmaking, small group drawing, motion drawing, cyanotype drawing, oil pastels on black and water colors.

The Big Draw will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Firehouse Cultural Center located at 101 First Ave. For more information, call (813) 645-7651.

Contact Kathy Straub at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

The Big Draw continues to draw a crowd in Ruskin 09/30/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 8:34pm]
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