At the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh, the works of art normally hang on the walls. Some of them have been there for decades and may be centuries old.
But on Friday, Aug. 25, museum visitors can see artists making never-before-seen art as part of the museum fundraiser “Monster Drawing Rally.”
More than 80 artists will draw as people wander among their stations, asking questions and checking out the art. Once completed, each piece will be for sale for a flat $50, with all proceeds benefiting the museum.
“It’s artists at all stages of their careers, from beginners to professional artists,” said Robert Mlodzik, who works for the museum and was one of the artists who drew during last year’s rally. “The big thing they get out of it is bringing exposure to the artists. People may know their work, but they don’t know the person.”
At first, Mlodzik said, having so many people watching him draw at the 2016 rally was “kind of nerve-racking.” But once he got comfortable, he felt more like an artist: visitors peered over his shoulder, discussing what they saw as he completed three drawings during his 50-minute shift.
Mlodzik, who works in visitor services at the museum and does ceramics, photography and more on the side, won’t be one of the artists at the 2017 rally, but he is helping plan it.
The idea came from the San Francisco gallery Southern Exposure, which has a similar fundraiser every year.
In addition to watching the artists, spectators at NCMA can enjoy the offerings from food trucks like Flirting with Fire and Soomsoom Pita Pockets as well as local brews from Trophy and Ponysaurus.
Artist Kiki Farish will be drawing at the museum rally for the first time. She’s taught drawing and design at North Carolina schools like Barton College and Meredith College, and for her, it’s all about raising money for the museum. Farish and her husband enjoy walking from their Raleigh home to the museum for a “visual feast.”
“(The museum’s) something I’m so proud of,” she said. “I hope to get at least two pieces done so there’s the potential for $100.”
She plans on bringing some flowers to draw as well as her own colored pencils. The museum provides art supplies, but Farish wants to make sure she has “the hues that I want to work with.”
Having her art in the N.C. Museum of Art is nothing new to Farish. Some of her drawings were featured in the museum’s 2014 exhibit “Line, Touch, Trace.” Farish’s pieces range from impressionistic paintings of stoic faces to detailed flowers surrounded by scribbled graphite lines.
She hopes to show the audience that drawing is for everyone.
“Everyone uses a pencil,” Farish said. “It shows them that this is an extension of what they already do. ... It’s really exciting that (the museum is) not only making drawing exciting, they’re also making collecting more accessible.”
Like Farish, artist Miriam Ximil of Willow Spring will be participating in Monster Drawing Rally for the first time. She’s done similar events as well as livestreamed herself drawing and says audience members call watching her “therapeutic.”
“It’s mostly very entertaining to see somebody in their zone,” Ximil said. “You just see the finished product, but (at the rally) you see the artist work, and it’s relaxing.”
She moved to North Carolina from New York at 13 and attended Fuquay-Varina High School, where she was involved with everything art-related.
“The art teachers there, I really have to give it to them,” Ximil said. “They’re the ones who inspired me.”
She describes her style as “all over the place.”
“It really depends on my mood,” Ximil said. She uses lots of mediums, from traditional pencils to photography to digital software, to create detailed drawings of often fantastical people with tree bark hair or third eyes.
Ximil works at video game maker Epic Games in Cary as a support technician. She’s also writing and illustrating two graphic novels.
The Monster Drawing Rally will draw her “out of her comfort zone,” Ximil said, but she’s ready to meet the spectators – especially the youngest ones – and get them excited about art.
“That’s part of the fun, sharing tips with people who are experienced or even learning, but kids – they get very inspired by that,” Ximil said.