A large-scale celebration of the arts called Big Picture Festival, made its way to Peoria’s downtown and warehouse district today. The ultimate goal is to put Peoria on the map as a national arts destination.This is the first Big Picture Festival and they have started planning next year’s.

Although this was clearly a celebration of all kinds of art, the purpose goes beyond that.

“The real purpose of it is to raise money for hiring artists into the schools, into the after school programs and into community centers. Because we really think that it’s important for kids to have twenty first century skills. Those are the skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration,”said Doug Leunig, Big Picture Festival organizer.

People were able to experience different types of art like mural painting, paint flinging, chalk drawings and hip hop dancing.

Business owner, Connie Randall sponsored a space for her and her friends to draw chalk art to support the cause.

“Well we’re supporting the commmunity and I just think its really important to support the arts. You’ve got so many talented people here giving their time and their efforts and we’re really happy to do it,” Randall said.

Community members showed up for different reasons despite the chilly weather. They seemed to enjoy what they saw.

“I just came down here because my daughter in law is doing a mural over here, and I knew it was going to be so much fun. I’d do anything to support the arts in Peoria and this is a great event,” said Barbara Courie, community member.

Besides being an event that brings art to the community, others say it also brings the community together.

“One major thing that the arts do to help the city is bring the different demographics together in a social situation that’s positive.”