‘Bright Lights Big City’



(The deadline for completed work is the 19th of October. Work can be left at the Rural City of Wangaratta offices or to David Godkin by arrangement)

“Bright Lights, Big City” is a visual arts community engagement project for Wangaratta Jazz and Blues 2018.
Inspired by Jazz and Blues music, “Bright Lights, Big City” by Jimmy Reed (blues) and “Harlem Airshaft” by Duke Ellington (jazz).

Imagine the Bright Lights that many blues and jazz musicians encounter when they come to the Big City to meet, play and learn with other musicians. That is what happens to many musicians all over the world but particularly in the USA where jazz and bues originated.

Jazz musician and composer Duke Ellington was trying to convey the bustle and noise of the Big City of New York when he composed “Harlem Airshaft”.

Blues musician Jimmy Reed was talking about how coming to the Bright Lights affected his girlfriend and “went to her head”.

So… let’s get drawing and create a “Big City with Bright Lights”… and with lots of music!

Imagine you are standing in the street of a Big City, there are tall buildings with many windows, all with people in them; there is music and sound coming from nearly every window and doorway, imagine the sounds.

What might you see in those windows?
Someone singing to the baby, as they cook? Playing a musical instrument, whistling as their cleaning the house?
Humming, singing in their sleep, snoring rhythmically.
A radio, iPad, stereo, television or computer could be playing music.
…. A pet bird/dog/cat etc could even be singing!

Whether it’s a kettle madly whistling on the stove, a special doorbell ring or a mobile phone playing music as it rings, the possibilities are endless!

If you’re keen to contribute, as a school, family, social group etc., you can print off the window shape pages on the website and then have a think about what is going on inside your room that we can see into through the window. Keep them uniform so they are mainly of the same design.

Can we see all the way in the window or just a little due to curtains or blinds? You can draw lots or a little. Sometimes it’s safer to do it in grey lead first before adding lots of bright light and colour, coloured pencils or what materials you have. #Hint… Don’t forget to add black outline. Fine liners are great. We need it to stand out! Importantly though, how are you going to show music and sound coming out of the window into the street? It also needs to be ….bold, bright.. and stand out!

DOWNLOAD YOUR WINDOW TEMPLATES and choose a window shape, in fact, take as many as you like, to share with family and friends.

Decide on what you’re going to draw, something that creates music, your stereo, mobile phone, a pair of headsets, kitchen appliances, the dog barking, or even someone snoring!

Colour in your drawing well, using texta or pencil, and don’t forget to black outline so it stands out. The window frame can be coloured also. Add some musical notes or lines etc to emphasise the sounds.

When your groups windows are finished they need to be arranged and glued on a large building sized piece of paper. This can be between a metre and two and a half metres high. If your group is a large class of 25 plus your building is likely to be a very tall sky scraper and very noisy. Leave room to add the walls and rooftop. #Hint#.. the windows will need a stronger glue than glue sticks We don’t want windows falling off!

When finished drop it back in the return box at the Rural City Offices or, mail it to David Godkin by October 19, 115 Templeton St, Wangaratta 3677. David’s team will place your window (s) on a suitable building and it will be displayed in CBD windows up to and during the Jazz/Blues Festival. Have FUN drawing and look out for it and others around festival time, towards the end of October.

Looking for ideas? Check out the photo of GANEAA House on the Wangaratta Jazz/Blues website as an example. This musical building was done by a group of Wangaratta adult artists. FYI… GANEAA house measures 44cm x 118cm.

#Hint# Note that the GANEAA artists have all put their name in the bottom of their window frames.
If you a student artist please write your name and age there. (Use a fine line pen to keep it small and inside the frame. Or, maybe your teacher can do this for you)

Name your building….Like the GANEAA artists, can your group create a sign with a fun name that tells us which school or group you are from? Be creative… eg St Bernards Buildings, Wangaratta West Wing, Chisholm St Chambers or Milawa Mansions etc.

Make it into a bright & colourful sign to go somewhere on your building. It could be at the top like a billboard. #Hint… Check the spelling! It can be done on the computer, or, by hand perhaps by the best writers and artists in your group. You’ll know who they are!

If possible use water colours or food dye to add some colour to the walls of your building. (Again check GANEAA HOUSE for ideas.)

These Big City buildings, bursting with music, sound, and Bright Lights will be displayed in windows such as the Rural City Offices, The Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, The Wangaratta Library and others before and during the 2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues.

Thus creating with music a “Big City with Bright Lights”!

Have fun, and don’t forget to play some jazz and blues while creating your big city building!
David Godkin

See below photos of some Melbourne buildings to give inspiration as to how the finished collaborative “buildings” for “Bright Lights Big City” can be finished.


Visual inspiration is from the illustrations in the following picture story books:

“Ruby Sings the Blues” By Niki Daly. Published by Francis Lincoln Childrens Books 2005.
ISBN 1-84507-099-2

“Getting to Know the World`s Greatest Composers- Duke Ellington. By Mike Venezia. Published by Childrens Press Chicago 1995.
ISBN 0-516-04540-7

“Forever Young” Written by Bob Dylan and Illustrated by Paul Young. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2008.
ISBN -13:978-1-4169-5808-6
ISBN-10: 1-4169-5808-6

“Caruso’s Song to the Moon” By Adele Jaunn. Published by Lothian Books 2004.
ISBN 0 7344 0624 x.