Pub and bar crawls are the stuff of legend. Drinking your way from one end of town to the other and then off into oblivion at the end of the night. Lots of fun to be had all round, undoubtedly, but you’re left ruing the day you picked up that last pint when you wake up in the morning with a jackhammer pummelling your brain and a mouth like Ghandi’s flip-flop.
But rejoice! Now a new kind of crawl is hitting the rain-washed streets of Manchester and it’s one that won’t have you doing the walk of shame at silly o’clock in the morning the following day. Run by the Nexus Art Cafe – a not-for-profit grassroots arts venue and one of the best kept secrets in the city – the Sketchcrawl will take you out and about in various parts of Manchester, allowing you to flex your creative muscles instead of your well-practised drinking arm.
It all began in January, with the inaugural crawl taking sketchers through the Northern Quarter, where the cafe can be found (hidden down a flight of stairs so it’s very blink-and-you’ll-miss-it). Starting at Nexus, the whistlestop tour moved on to fashion emporium Afflecks Palace – a Mancunian gem if ever there was one – the Ewok Village regeneration project, the Craft and Design Centre and the old fish market.
Charity manager Hannah Mosley explained that a lot of the Sketchcrawl’s appeal is that it takes people to places in Manchester that they may never have come across otherwise, adding: “Part of the fun of the event is it gets people to draw without worrying about the outcome of a finished piece. It’s taking the pressure off sketching and is quite a nice way of getting people back into drawing.”
Sketchers now come crawling once a month with Nexus and Mosely is looking for anyone who has enjoyed themselves during the day to volunteer and run their own event through the cafe. Unlike painting the town red, drawing it will only set you back £3 and for that you get a day out with a difference, a lovely cup of tea and some much-needed sustenance when you make your way back to Nexus. So pencils at the ready folks – April’s Sketchcrawl awaits.