‘The Big Draw’ Festival Returns to PEM for Second Year

The international drawing festival encourages people of all ages to doodle, sketch, and scribble to their heart's content.

the big draw

The Big Draw / Via PEM

Last year, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem joined in on a campaign called ‘The Big Draw,’ an international effort by the Campaign for Drawing to get people of all ages to embrace their inner artist. This year, The Big Draw returns to PEM with a downsized main event, but more happening throughout the city.

Targeted toward people who utter the phrase “I can’t draw,” the main Big Draw festival at PEM will only be one day this year—October 11—though activities like Candy Chang’s “I am drawn to _______” wall will invite museum-goers to take part and fill in the blank throughout the month of October.

The day of the festival, visitors will find a mobile library filled with sketchbooks from around the world, a room-sized camera obscura, and other fun activities.

The theme of The Big Draw this year is “It’s Our World,” and it will not be limited to the Peabody Essex. Being an arts-oriented town, coffee shops and other venues around town will also host special activities for The Big Draw, such as a postcard-making activity, “Wish You Were Here,” and the Sketchbook Project, where participants draw in books that will eventually be archived in the Brooklyn Art Library and tour the U.S. in the Mobile Sketchbook Library.

Participating venues in Salem include Jo’ Freedom Coffee Shop, SCAM (Salem Collective of Artists and Musicians), Front Street Coffee Shop, North Shore Academy, and Salem Public Library Children’s Room.


The Big Draw activities at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem are free with museum admission ($18 adults). Saturday, October 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., East India Square, 161 Essex St., Salem, 978-745-9500, pem.org.