by ANTONY CLAY
AN arts group is celebrating its 30th birthday this year with a packed calendar of activities.
darts, based at The Point on South Parade in Doncaster, has had three decades of success providing artistic activities to people right across the town.
Now, darts – Doncaster Community Arts – aims to remain the important hub for artists that is has become.
The group opened The Point in an attractive Georgian town house back in May 1998 as its base after starting life in 1990 in a back room at Bentley Library.
darts moved to Bentley West End Youth Centre before receiving funding to convert 16 and 17 South Parade to become The Point.
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.
In 2020, to mark the big birthday, The Point will be getting a new look including new signage and wayfinding to ensure visitors have a great visit.
darts will be releasing new films which shine a light on the difference made by the group to lots of different people
And there will be a big party to celebrate the anniversary to which all staff past and present are invited.
darts’ chief executive Duncan Robertshaw said: “This is a huge milestone for us.
“We plan to celebrate all year long, as well as raise the profile of the things we do best.
“Working with the excellent Eleven Design, and in collaboration with our staff, trustees, volunteers and participants, we will be launching a new look early in the new year.
“This is just one of the exciting activities we have in store for 2020.”
Helen Jones, assistant director of darts, said: “We can’t wait to start the celebrations for our 30th birthday by opening Wow! Said the Owl here at The Point.
“This is a nationally significant exhibition, with lots of family-friendly and interactive activities to enjoy. We’re very excited for people to enjoy a visit.”
One regular visitor to The Point is 10-year-old Daisy Watt.
Not only has she won a top award, she has raised thousands of pounds through her art for cancer charities.
She won 2019’s Achievement in the Arts award organised by the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation.
Through the sale of her paintings, Daisy has raised almost £50,000 for cancer charities.
She was inspired to use her talent in this way when both her Granny and Grandad were diagnosed with cancer at a similar time.
Daisy has been coming to The Point and getting stuck into creative activities with darts since she was a baby. Art Adventures, led by professional artists for pre-schoolers and their parents or carers, engaged very young children in a range of creative experiences, offering the chance to experiment, play and learn together.
Since then, Daisy and her family have visited pretty much every exhibition in the gallery at The Point and she has been to every single Tuesday Art Club session since it started two years ago.
She says that coming to The Point and working with darts artists has played a big part in developing her artwork.
Daisy said: “It has made me more confident and given me lots of ideas. We don’t do much art at school.”
Assistant director of darts, Helen Jones, who runs the Tuesday Art Club, said: “We are incredibly proud of Daisy and are so pleased to have played a part in the development of such talent.
“It’s fantastic that our creative sessions really do allow children and young people to flourish and grab hold of opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have access to.
“The Point is open to all and the activities that darts artists run here are fully inclusive and accessible. Why not see what we have to offer?”
One woman who has also made good use of The Point over the years is Sharon Constantine.
She believes that attending regular sessions has helped her cope over the years.
Sharon said: “When our family lived in Thorne Road (in Doncaster), my two boys were aged one and three, I used to walk down to The Point for outdoor and indoor play with them. I can’t remember what the sessions were called, but at the time it was a great place for me to go to as I felt a bit isolated as a newish mum and struggling with post-natal depression.
“Fast forward quite a few years, my big two are 22 and 24 now. We move to Misson where eventually I had another son, now 14. I still attend events, mostly now for children with additional needs.
“I discovered that (other The Point users) Lucy and Duncan live in the same village as me, and we’ve become firm friends for life. Our youngest children also have a very special bond.
“I am extremely grateful for the lifeline The Point provided for me back then, and for the incredible facilities and events I still attend now.
“Thank you for being there for us, and long may you continue with your success.”
The Point is set to continue its mission to promote the arts in Doncaster throughout its 30th year and beyond, appealing to users of all ages and experiences.