A base for the arts bringing culture to the people

by ANTONY CLAY

The Point, Doncaster.

AN attractive Georgian town house has become a focus for the creatives in Doncaster.

The historic white-coloured building on South Parade is a hub for the artists of today.

The Point, which opened its doors in May 1998, is a base for a number of art groups and has proved a particular magnet for young people.

It has also put itself on the map recently by hosting a video installation exhibition by globally-renowned artist Bill Viola.

A collaboration with Tate ansd National Galleries Scotland has brought three works by Viola to the town and it has proved a success with plenty of people calling in to have a browse.

But The Point hosts events for all ages and families throughout the year, with a busy calendar being drawn up for 2019.

To bring art to the people is the point of The Point.

Communications officer Amy Archer-Williams said that The Point is run by darts (Doncaster Community Arts) which itself has a fascinating history.

The group started out in a back room at Bentley Library way back in October 1990.

The group moved to Bentley West End Youth Centre before receiving funding to convert 16 and 17 South Parade to become The Point. It is actually two old town houses knocked into one to create more space.

The Point opened its doors as an arts venue on May 3, 1998.

The building not only provides a base for darts staff and various art groups, it is a base for companies which helps it pay its way.

Amy said: “It’s quite an eclectic mix.”

The link-up with the Tate and National Galleries Scotland has been a big boost, bringing Bill Viola’s work to the town.

Amy said: “Bill Viola is quite well-known the art world and his work has not been in Doncaster before.”

She admitted that Viola’s work divides opinion but wanted as many as possible to make their own judgement by seeing it.

Amy said: “Some people love it and see it as the future but others think it’s not art. It’s Marmite: they really love it or don’t like it.

“We just want people to come to it.

“It’s been exciting.”

The link-up with the Tate and National Galleries Scotland has led to the development of an art group for young people aged from 13 to 15 called the Young Curators.

The young people helped launch the prestigious Viola exhibition which was opened by Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband.

The Young Curators, who are looking for new members, has recently held a creative hands-drawing workshop and creative workshop, as well as regular meetings.

The group has created artwork based on one of Viola’s three pieces on show, Catherine’s Room.

But The Point also collaborates with other arts organisations in Doncaster. It was part of the recent Culture Crawl and has a good relationship with Doncaster theatre Cast.

Amy said: “A cultural quarter is being developed in town and we try to work with Cast as much as possible.”

She also said that Doncaster Council supports The Point.

The Point is the base for Doncaster Education’s Music Hub, a group which aims to ensure music education is available for all children in Doncaster. It also undertakes events across all Doncaster schools.

There will be many events taking place at The Point next year for people across the community.

Video installation artist Bill Viola recently held an exhibition at The Point

One, called Quirkus, has been devised by the Quirky Choir which meets at the venue and is an adult singing group.

The choir has been working with different creatives, including Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan, and the resulting exhibition in January will be based around sound, said Amy.

She added that The Point has already tried to reach out to a wide variety of age groups throughout the last year in particular, and pledged that this would continue into the future.

Amy said: “We scheduled in more family workshops then ever before this year.”

The Point is also home to R and B outfit Swag Choir which is amimed at 14 to 18-year-olds, as well as writers’ groups.

There is even a choir for younger kids aged 11 to 14, called Swaglets.

Other attractions include Tuesday art clubs, art-led creative sessions for people with mental health difficulties on Wednesdays, and supportive singing sessions for people living with dementia and their carers.

There is something for all tastes, as well as a cafe and the opportunity to hire rooms.

Amy said: “We need people to know there is something for everybody at The Point.”

FACT FILE:
The Point is at 16 South Parade, Doncaster DN1 2DR.
Contact: telephone 01302 341662, email darts@thepoint.org.uk, website http://www.thepoint.org.uk.
Twitter: @darts_The Point
Facebook: dartsatThe Point
Instagram: dartsatthepoint
Opening times: Monday/Friday 10am-4pm, Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 10am-7pm, Saturday 9am-1.30pm.

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