Twelve-hour coloring event offers live music, workshops in Shelburne Falls

  • Brendan Flannelly-King, left, draws on the floor with Ida Westley, 3, at last year's Hilltown Draw-Around. File PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Fiona Crehan, 11, front, and Meredith Bistrek, 12, draw on glass panels during last year's Hilltown Draw-Around. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2019 4:43:32 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Between noon and midnight today, residents can draw on floor-to-ceiling paper at the Cowell Gym, while listening to live music and indulging in food and drink.

The Hilltown Draw-Around – Art Garden-run event, now in its fifth year – seeks to raise money through pay-what-you-can donations for the after school program ARTeen. Cowell Gym is located at  51 Maple St., Shelburne Falls.

Hundreds of markers are provided at the event for participants to use to draw anything, anywhere. The room will have also some prompts to inspire colorers – for example, a section is devoted to community portraits.

“There’s no other event like it around here,” Art Garden board member Laura Iveson said. “Everybody should feel comfortable drawing. That’s what I love seeing – people drawing. I love seeing people taking chances.”

Iveson was inspired to start the Hilltown Draw-Around five years ago, she said, after coming across a similar event in New Orleans — an annual 24-hour Draw-a-Thon started in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. 

Four local artists have contributed works to the Draw-Around or will create art during the event. Reed Arahood of Florence is creating a drawing machine, Suzanne Conway of Colrain is making a “thank you” mural, Emily Gopen of Charlemont is making a floor mandala, and Samantha Crawford created a back-drop for the 3D coloring corner. 

Ten musicians and bands are scheduled to play in shifts at the event. Performances begin at midday with Deborah Stevens and Friends, followed by David Herrera Exuberant Ukelele at 1 p.m.; Accordian Stylings with Shanti Archer at 2 p.m.; Soothing Harp Music with Bill Ryan at 2:45 p.m.; Soulful Banjo Pickin’ Michael Hoberman at 3:30 p.m.; Dan Lederer Exquisite Guitar at 4 p.m.; Blues & Folk with Jim Eagan at 5 p.m.; Michael Handsaker at 6 p.m.; and Sass Soup at 7:15 p.m. The band She Said will finish the night with a two-hour performance from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

A series of 45-minute workshops led by local artists are on also on offer throughout the event. Workshops begin with henna body art led by Kelly Flaherty and Jaden LeBreux at 12:30 p.m.; followed by creature drawing with Robert Markey at 1:30 p.m.; paper airplane lessons with Erbin and Elias Crowell at 2:30 p.m.;  an introduction to calligraphy with Ebin Sorkin at 3:30 p.m.; face painting with tattoo artist Valerie Velvet at 4:30 p.m.; simple animation with Micah Goldstein at 5:30 p.m.; and blind contour drawing with Janice Sorensen from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Costumed figure drawing is on offer from 9 to 11:30 p.m.  

And if drawing stirs up an appetite, colorers can purchase snacks and meals from the Doodle Café – plus wine and beer from 8:30 p.m. onward.

Nine local cultural councils contributed to the Draw-Around: Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont-Hawley, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Heath, Leyden and Shelburne.

For more information contact Laura Iveson at or visit


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