Sharpen your pencils, colour-code your marker pens, the Big Draw is tomorrow. In 300 venues in England, Scotland and Wales, in gardens, hospitals, mills, stately homes and galleries, you can drop in and draw. Choose your subject. A map? An apple? A design for wallpaper? And use any style from cartoon to computer graphics. This is the first part of a three-year initiative by the Campaign for Drawing called Drawing Power which aims to get everyone wielding a pen, pencil or piece of charcoal. The initiative was launched by the Guild of St George, the charity founded by John Ruskin to create a better world.
Future projects will emphasise the part drawing can play in learning, literacy and communication skills. Enquiries: 020 8364 5881, or see email@example.com If Ruskin was an idealist, he has plenty of successors. Among them is the National Campaign for the Arts, a small but vocal organisation committed to raising the profile of the arts at every opportunity. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that it should be responsible for publishing a short version of last year's All Our Futures, the report of the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, chaired by Professor Ken Robinson. Although members of the committee have been impatient at the slowness of the Government's response, the DfEE is keen to welcome the summary and Alan Howarth, Minister for the Arts, has said that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working closely with the DfEE to implement the report's recommendations.
Victoria Todd, of the NCA, says that "the NACCE report has presented us all with a real opportunity to revitalise the place of creativity throughout the education system". The NCA continues to campaign for all the arts to be recognised as subjects in their own right. Teaching unions and subject associations have welcomed the summary and more than 40 national organisations are participating in its distribution.
With funding from the Gulbenkian and Paul Hamlyn Foundations, the NCA has produced 100,000 copies of the summary to be distributed free to teachers and governors.
The NCA is also offering TES readers a 25 per cent discount on membership for the next six months. Members receive a quarterly copy of the journal Arts News (the current one includes an enjoyable "rant" - his word - by Philip Ridley about the lack of attention given to plays for teenagers), information about arts policy announcements and a membership card giving concessionary rates to arts venues and events. Send a cheque for pound;18.75 payable to the National Campaign for the Arts to NCA, Pegasus House, 37-43 Sackville Street, London W1S 3EH. For information,tel: 020 7333 0375.
There are idealists at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures amp; Commerce) too, committed to finding out how much young people benefit from the arts in schools and encouraging equality of opportunity in arts subjects. The results of their three-year research project (carried out with the National Foundation for Educational Research) were published last week in a 500-page book. There are many gratifying findings (see TES news pages, ctober 13), including the effects that the arts have on the ethos of a school and the development of individual pupils' confidence. One negative finding is that young people seem to get very little out of studying music in the secondary school - a clear case for better teacher training in the subject, including for primary teachers. The report costs pound;24 from NFER: 01753 574123, but some free summaries are available from Mathilda Joubert at the RSA on: 020 7451 6890 All is not gloom and doom among musicians, however, as the Schools Proms testify. The ones in the Albert Hall will be on November 6, 7 and 8 (tickets: 020 7589 8212) and more about them anon. Meanwhile, a Music for Youth Schools Prom opens the Millennium Festival in Leeds town hall on November 2 when the 300-strong cream of Yorkshire youth music will be spiced with a performance by the Sha Tin Government Secondary Schools Orchestra from Hong Kong. Tickets: 0113 214 5315. Music for Youth: 020 8870 9624 But half-term comes before that. Check your local theatre, library and museum for children's activities. In London, the National Theatre presents two shows for four-year-olds and over: Tutti Frutti's production of The Emperor's New Clothes on October 23, 24 and 25 - a version of the Andersen tale described as visual, magical and quirky - and, on October 26 and 27, Herbie Treehead's Cherub's Garden. Members of the audience join characters such as Mee-ow the giant caterpillar and four angels with furry wings in their musical garden. Tickets: 020 7452 3000. All week there will be free concerts in the Lyttelton stalls foyer and a fireworks display by the river on November 4.
At the Theatre Museum there will be a range of activities for family audiences, beginning with museum trails and culminating in making things, such as a historic actor's shoes. And for Hallowe'en, turn yourself into a witch with the help of professional make-up artists. Gothic wigs provided. Information: 020 7943 4700 Meanwhile, the National Youth Music Theatre will be performing their musical interpretation of the King Arthur legend, Pendragon, at the Peacock Theatre between October 25 and 28. Tickets: 020 7863 8222.
The Wales-wide international arts festival Restless Gravity (Siglo'r Sylfeini) runs until October 29 and among treats to come is Jant-bi when eight young men from Senegal and Nigeria dance to a fusion of African and Western music at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on October 24 and at Theatr Gwynedd, Bangor, on October 26.
Desperate Optimists from Ireland are working on a new piece of radio theatre with eight young people from Ceredigion. There will be a performance at Theatr Felinfach on October 25, which will be broadcast by Radio Ceredigion on October 29. Festival information: 01970 621570, or see www.restlessgravity.org.uk Mary Shelley's story, Frankenstein, intrigues as much as ever. But how about telling it in Spanish? That is what Firewalk Theatre have been doing. The Spanish actors usually tour English-speaking plays to Spanish students, but are just completing a tour of British schools where they use their own language. For details, email: firstname.lastname@example.org HEATHER NEILL