Armchair Gallery

How to run a creative workshop based on Street Scene, St Simons Church

Artwork by L.S. Lowry, created in 1928

About this activity

Workshop themes

  • Architecture
  • Churches
  • Community
  • Lowry
  • Painting
  • Sketching


  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for one to one

Difficulty level




  • Name badges (for all participants and staff).
  • Large roll of paper or A2 sheets for individual drawings.
  • Charcoal sticks.
  • Bamboo canes.
  • Gaffa tape.
  • Cardboard box dice.


  • Set up, cover the floor in front of people where they will be seated with large rolls of wallpaper/ paper. Prepare a number of bamboo canes with charcoal sticks bound onto one end using gaffa tape.
  • Go around the room and make eye contact with everyone, shake their hand and say hello.
  • Sit in a circle and ask people to add and contribute to a group drawing if they wish.
  • The group can begin with making any type of mark. They will begin to respond to each other and what is being created.
  • Various pens, coloured pastels or paint brushes can be added to the ends of the canes. Use different materials to create a range of textures, colours and marks. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. Any sort of mark making can be encouraged!
  • If the group is struggling with this concept, a large dice made from a cardboard box can be used with various shapes on each side. As they roll the dice, the side it lands on will determine what they need to draw onto the paper. This will help the members of the group who may not be confident with drawing.
  • For a more complex activity, themes could include drawing a streetscape of a city or village, buildings, parks, the sea/seaside or landscapes.





  • Look at the artwork using the Armchair Gallery app.
  • Welcome and invite the person or group to create with you and write their answers on the flip chart. Ask open-ended questions (like in the list to the right).
  • Affirm/echo all their answers - together we build a story that can have sound, movement, words - even drawings.
  • Retell the story, then invite them to add another creative element like sound, or movement.

Suggested Questions

  • What is going on in the picture?
  • What colours can you see?
  • Where do you think this is?
  • What do you think the different buildings are/for?
  • What are people doing?
  • What art medium do you think is used in this picture?
  • What do you think the weather is like?
  • When do you think this painting was created? What gives you that impression?
  • What would you name this piece of art?

Play this video

Workshop members can watch this on their own tablet, or you can play it to the group by connecting your tablet to a TV or projector. It can also be downloaded from the Armchair Gallery website.

Interact with the artwork

At this point in the workshop participants should have a go at using the app to interact with the artwork. From the main menu, enter The Lowry, select Street Scene, St Simons Church and tap Interact and play.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 1


  • iPad and speakers(to play music).
  • Vimto, Eccles cakes, custard tarts etc.
  • Pencil, charcoal and graphite.
  • Putty rubbers.
  • A series of pre-cut Lowry figures/characters.
  • Scissors.
  • Kebab sticks.
  • Sellotape.
  • Projector (or similar lighting).
  • Screen or a white wall or fabric stretched over a frame.
  • Camera or iPad for taking images.
  • Smokey incense sticks.


  • A great song to support Lowry’s Artwork is Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs. You could play this matchstalk men themed piece of music. Everyone will know this song and sing along!
  • Download sounds that you would hear in the artwork such as church bells, people walking, bustling street sounds etc. Spend time asking the group what they would hear if they were in the artwork and then play these sounds back to people.
  • Actions and movement could be encouraged to respond to these sounds. One participant starts the movement or action and other participants can then replicate the movement.
  • Freesound is a great website for various sounds (see extra resources for more information)

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 2


  • Incorporate tastes that link to Lowry’s heritage to Manchester and Salford. Foods such as Eccles cakes, Vimto and custard tarts.


  • A combination of pencil, charcoal and graphite can be used to explore the different tones that appear in Lowry’s paintings.
  • Cover white paper with the charcoal, graphite and pencil. Use putty rubbers to remove areas to re-create the cloudy sky in Street Scene, St Simons Church.
  • Ask participants to blend the charcoal; graphite and pencil with their fingers or with a sponge. This will encourage the creation of texture and smudged lines, replicating Lowry’s style and technique.
  • People could do this individually or collectively on one large piece of paper, creating a collaborative sky for example.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 3


  • Cut out a selection of Lowry figures
  • add these to bamboo or kebab sticks ready to use.
  • Use a projector to light a screen (or white coloured area) in order for shadow puppets/figures to be explored by the group. Ask participants to move these in front of the screen, thinking about movement and where they are all situated. A story could be created.
  • Photograph these and use them as a new artwork for future sessions or as a group piece inspired by Lowry.


  • Burn some incense or use a diffuser with oils that give the impression of smells of smoke, pine or oak wood. This will reflect the atmosphere of the painting and evoke smells that are linked with the artwork themes.

Making: Clay Houses


Create a village of clay houses and display these in your setting.

Conclude by giving everyone a round of applause and thank them for attending the session.


Getting Materials

You should be able to get most of the materials mentioned in this guide at your local arts supplier.

They are also avaiable on Amazon. If you shop via Amazon Smile (using the button below - UK only), then we will recieve a donation that we can put towards our work with older people.

Other Apps

You could use these other apps to further explore digital technology in your workshop.