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Mont des Arts venues come together to launch Picture! Festival

21:56 25/10/2019

The new Picture! Festival is the first event of its kind dedicated to the art of illustration.

The initiative, coordinated by the non-profit organisation Mont des Arts, is the first joint project by some 30 cultural, tourist, economic and social institutions from Brussels' cultural hub.

There will be exhibitions, live-drawing concerts, master classes, workshops and more. From the 500-year-old prints by Bruegel to Kitty Crowther’s dance of the hanged men (The Unknown Dance), there are arts and activities for all ages.

"It’s a brand new festival, a totally new adventure," says director Marie Noble. "We gathered illustrators from all over Belgium and Europe as well. At the beginning it was about drawing - but the illustrators emancipated themselves and now it’s about living arts, concerts, animation, frescos in urban space. It’s much more than just drawing."

It kicks off with a family event on 31 October from 18.00. "It’s going to be a Halloween atmosphere but with art and illustrators," says Noble. "We have 15 locations here at the Mont des Arts that will be open until 21.00, and you’ll be able to wander around to discover new things, new places."

Over the festival's 10 days there will be 50 illustrators, 40 locations, 33 exhibitions, nine masterclasses/meetings with artists, seven live drawing concerts and performances, seven film screenings, four workshops, a small press/printed image fair and a party.

There will also be a record-breaking challenge: "We’re trying to break the world record for the longest portrait gallery," Noble explains.

"You are asked to draw a portrait of yourself - you don’t have to be an illustrator, or know anything about drawing - just let yourself go. It will take place in the Galérie Ravenstein at a 15-metre-long table; everyday we will roll it up to continue the fresco until we reach a kilometre of drawings of faces of Brussels."

The idea of the festival was to take advantage of the rich cultural landscape of the Mont des Arts neighborhood, but there are an additional 18 venues across Brussels and even as far as La Louvière.

"There are plenty of institutions that support illustration during the whole year through their activities - galleries, libraries or bookstores - and we thought it was natural to have them with us for this first edition.

"So we have things happening at ABC, MIMA, MuntPunt, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Korean Cultural Center, the Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image Imprimée in La Louvière among others in Brussels, Saint-Gilles, Schaerbeek, Watermael-Boitsfort, Ixelles, Molenbeek and Woluwe-Saint-Pierre."

Written by Richard Harris