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RUSKIN REVIVES THE BIG DRAW

At least 35 classes, most free, will be available. Signup starts Tuesday.

The Big Draw is back with some unique art classes.

Ruskin's monthlong celebration of drawing was so successful last year that local artists and community leaders want to make it an annual event. In October, they will offer dozens of free art classes for every skill level.

A group is already working on a mural for the Mary and Martha House, under the guidance of Brooklyn-based artist Josette Urso. And to help kick off the event, Mary GrandPre, the illustrator for the Harry Potter series, will discuss her work on Oct. 3 at the Big Draw studio, a donated 7,000-square-foot space on U.S. 41.

Some of last year's popular classes will return, including weekly beginning drawing classes and a two-day drawing marathon. But most of the workshops are new.

At a session dubbed "Extreme Perspectives," attendees will project their drawings onto the Bishop Planetarium dome in Bradenton.

In another class, amateur artists will make giant papier-mache sea creatures with a Boston-based puppeteer.

There is also a Photoshop class, a chalk art workshop and a four-week drawing club for kids.

"It's a way to have a smorgasbord of experiences and taste a little bit of what might seem interesting," said event organizer and Ruskin artist Dolores Coe.

Digital art emerges this year, thanks to new computer programs installed on the SouthShore Regional Library's computers. Coe will teach a "Between the Lines & Layers" workshop where students will create a digital montage with traditional media.

"It's about combining traditional media and approaches and moving them into the digital realm and back," she said.

University of South Florida fine arts graduate student Ariel Baron-Robbins returns this year to lead a four-week beginning drawing workshop.

She'll teach perspective by having students sketch stacked boxes, and she'll teach shadowing and contour lines by having them draw a ball sitting on top of a striped cloth.

"I like teaching at the Big Draw because it gives me a wider range of people to teach," she said. "Last year, I think there was one kid in our class who was 13 or 14 and there was one person who I think may have been 80."

There are about 35 classes available, but organizers may add more, Coe said. Sign-up starts Tuesday, and budding artists can reserve spots by either visiting or calling the Ruskin Branch Library.

Most classes are free, but some include a small materials or model fee. Check the Big Draw's Web site for the complete schedule and class details.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

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IF YOU GO:

The Ruskin Big Draw

When: Oct. 1-31

Where: Class locations vary, but most are at the Big Draw Studio at 613 U.S. 41 in Ruskin

Details: See theschedule: southshoreartscouncil.org/thebigdraw. Signup begins Tuesdayat the Ruskin Branch Library, 1 Dickman Drive SE, or call the library at (813) 273-3652.

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